Tips for Fashion Retailers to Succeed in this Age of Retail

Last year and at the start of this year, the retail industry has seen many retail giants shuttering and some more lined-up to follow the same fate as the year progresses. Even well-known fashion retail brands such as J. Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, GAP and a few others were among this list. While all this can seem to be gloomy and dampening for the brick-and-mortar retail businesses, as a matter of fact the situation is not as grave as it perceived.  Besides, as some fashion brands including Nordstrom and H & M have already opened new stores, there are others like Aldi who are set to expand with new stores in the market.

Due to the stimulus of digitization, on the one hand, the influence of online shopping and mobile will definitely continue to have an impact on the shopping habits of the consumers. But on the other hand, brick-and-mortar retail still has that one factor that online hasn’t been able to provide; and that is the ‘touch and feel’ experience. This is something that shoppers really fancy, especially when it comes to fashion and comfort. However, this solely is not enough for physical retailers to sustain and succeed. So below are a few tips as to what fashion retailers must do to succeed in this age of retail.

Fast is in

When it comes to fashion, trends are constantly changing. Every season, or every festival there seems to be new styles that come up. To add to this, people are also influenced by their favorite celebrities and look forward to ape their style. Thus, fashion retailers have to be quick in getting their assortments to match up with the new trends in demand, and ensure that this keeps happening as and when trends change. Fast fashion is all about being fast and keeping pace with the consumers who with a blink of an eye can shift loyalties or switch channels if they don’t find what they are looking for.

Data driven design

An important aspect of constantly staying up in the game to match the demands of the consumers as well as ‘be in’ with the trend is to know and understand both these factors. Data analytics play a key role in enabling retail brand owners to get a firm grasp of these attributes and then infuse the findings into the design process so that the end products fit the bill when it comes to customer satisfaction. Similarly, the store and planogram designs can be influenced by the insights extracted from the analytics in order to improve the overall experience and boost sales.

Amplifying the store

For fashion stores to succeed, it is necessary to have the right product, at the right place, at the right time. This means the location of the stores plays an important role in boosting sales. However it is extremely necessary to also consider factors such as rents and overheads of having stores at prime locations. In order to strike the right chord between the two and reduce risks of overheads, retail owners must use their stores as fulfillment centers for online orders, offer showrooming, offer value added services, and so on. Employing the right omni-channel retail software to integrate online and mobile channels with the stores will allow fashion retail brands to enhance their overall presence and also amplify their stores’ sales and enhance customer experiences.

Targeted brand marketing

Gone are the days where heavily relying on celebrity endorsements on television or print media advertisements would drive customers to flock at the stores. While such traditional means are still necessary, fashion retail marketers must channelize the marketing of the brand through more personal and targeted mediums. Using social media or mobile channels to communicate brand messages or using geo-location based marketing to attract shoppers, running tailored promotions or building relationships at the individual level within the stores, are some of the many approaches fashion retail brands must leverage to make the right impact.

Retailers – The Sleeping Giants Of e-Commerce

– Naresh Ahuja

ETP blog retailers-the-sleeping-giant-of-ecommerce

At ETP, as we work with retailers across 20 countries and over 25,000 stores and 500 brands, we have seen tremendous depth in their skills in merchandising, brand management, sales and supply chain management, their understanding of their diverse customers and employees, their ability to manage cycles and seasons and still produce a profit, their infrastructure management, their cash management, so on and so forth.

In the last one year, we have seen these giants waking up to their potential in the eCommerce space. With all their powerful management and execution capability, they could be the game-changers of this new “omni-channel” retail world. Like all large organisations with a legacy and systems and processes in place, they may not be as nimble as the pure-play eCommerce players, however they seem to have got it now and are ramping up their organisations’ technology, culture and capability to play the eCommerce game. At the same time, the eCommerce players have grown and are struggling with the lack of the same competencies that the larger retailers have.

It is a fascinating new battle front and the next couple of years will tell all. My guess is that the winners will be the ones who leverage the core competencies of retail and deploy the technological savviness of eCommerce.


This article has been written by:

Naresh Ahuja ETP Naresh Ahuja, Chairman and CEO, ETP Group

Naresh as the Founder, Chairman and CEO of the ETP Group leads the company with a clear focus on bringing enduring value to customers through best practices mirrored in software applications. Spanning 25 years of focus on retail domain expertise and IP development, ETP today, has a strong customer base of market leaders in more than 20 countries across Asia Pacific, India and the Middle East, and is on its way to becoming a global leader in Retail Software Solutions.