Table of Contents
Put Your Customer First
Your typical omnichannel fashion-retail experience looks like this.
Kate is a fashion enthusiast. On a typical day, she starts by browsing emails from fashion brands she’s subscribed to. Or, she scrolls through Instagram or Pinterest for inspiration. Kate regularly saves images of outfits to use as a reference.
Next, she visits the websites of her favorite retailers. She looks at new arrivals and sales, adds clothes to her basket, but doesn’t complete the purchase (yet!).
The next day, she heads to the brick-and-mortar store. She picks up a discount code coupon, speaks to the staff for recommendations, and tries on some of the clothes she added to the basket. Kate has afternoon plans so doesn’t want to carry the items with her.
That evening she goes home, completes her purchase on the retailer’s mobile app, uses the coupon code, and chooses to pick up her order in-store to avoid shipping fees.
Here, the customer journey is set so the consumer is able to switch between online and offline shopping. There are no hiccups and she has the same information regardless of where she is shopping. The hybrid experience is convenient, the customer is happy, and they’ll be back again.
Understanding your customers
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You need to have a clear idea of your customer’s needs and preferences. Nailing your fashion omnichannel strategy takes time and investment. So, you shouldn’t just dive in. To get started, leverage your most valuable asset: your customer.
Create online surveys – via SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, etc. – to gain insight into customer satisfaction drivers and shopping habits. Share these surveys with newsletter subscribers, on social media, or on your website.
You should also carry out in-store surveys, too. This could be through your staff or through standing tablets so shoppers can do it themselves.
Here are a handful of questions to consider:
- How often do you shop for fashion products online vs. in-store?
- What factors influence your decision to shop online vs. in-store?
- Have you ever purchased a fashion product online and picked it up in-store? Why – or why not?
- What suggestions do you have for retailers to improve shopping across multiple channels (online, in-store, mobile, social media)?
Don’t just monitor your social media channels for Facebook. Actively ask for feedback!
To do so, create polls, start conversations and debates in comments sections, and speak to influencers in your niche. Focus your research on the shopping behaviour of your target audience. This is a great way to identify trends and engage with customers directly.
Also, look at your closest competitors. At the end of the day, their customers are the same as yours. Look at what they’re doing and see what would work for you.
Customer journey mapping
This process involves visualizing the customer’s journey and experiences across all touchpoints.
By mapping the customer journey – and identifying points of friction – omnichannel fashion brands create a more seamless experience for shoppers. Here are some tips:
- Identify touchpoints: This includes your website, marketplaces, social media pages, mobile app, and brick-and-mortar stores.
- Map the journey: Create a flowchart – we like Miro! – to visualize the customer’s journey across all touchpoints. This includes various stages of the journey, from awareness, purchase, to post-purchase.
- Customer feedback: Use the feedback you’ve gathered from social media and surveys to help identify bottlenecks in the omnichannel experience.
Solutions to Enhance the Omnichannel Experience
Once you’ve identified the areas causing problems, it’s time to fix them. Here’s what you should do:
Improve website design
Make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for with clear navigation and search functionality. Doing so prevents customers from abandoning your business and going with a competitor.
Keep the checkout process simple
Do you want people to sign up for your newsletter or follow you on social media? Save this for when your customer makes the purchase!
Keep things simple. Include guest checkout options and remove any unnecessary blockers. In addition, be transparent when it comes to delivery dates/costs. This will reduce cart abandonment rates.
Enhance the brick-and-mortar experience
Provide free Wi-Fi, self-checkout options, or even tablets/mobile devices so shoppers can browse your online catalog.
Just like with your website, in-store navigation has to make sense. If you offer Buy Online, Pick-Up instore (which you should!), is it clear where customers collect their orders? Does your product grouping make sense? Does it follow a similar logic to your website?
Also, don’t forget your staff. Equip them with the proper training and knowledge to resolve issues quickly.
Offer a variety of payment options
This is absolutely non-negotiable. Make sure to accept credit cards, Apple/Google Pay, mobile payments, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), or any other digital wallet both in-store and online. After all, a lack of payment options causes 9 in 10 shoppers to abandon their purchase.
Conversational AI is going nowhere. In fact, 64% of customers would rather talk to a chatbot than to a person.
You should use these chatbots to answer basic customer enquiries, track customer orders, or give product recommendations. As they’re available to customers 24/7, you’ll see an uprise in efficiency!
With AR technology in retail, customers virtually try on and customize items. By using AR on mobile devices, customers are able to interact with products in a way that suits them.
With AR, customers aren’t limited to a selection of images and product videos. They get an experience similar to a physical store – without having to leave their homes!
AR eCommerce experiences are 200% more engaging than those without. So, integrating AR is a great way to drive confident purchase decisions and fewer returns.
AR solutions to explore:
Product Information Management (PIM)
Product data is at the heart of both online and offline shopping experiences. So, PIM platforms like Pimberly are an integral part of your omnichannel tech stack.
PIM for fashion comes stacked with tools to create powerful product experiences across sales channels with rich, accurate product data. From Digital Asset Management (DAM) capabilities to AI-generated product descriptions. With a PIM solution, you’ll ensure brand consistency across all channels and develop seamless customer experiences.
Personalized Product Recommendations
There’s a lot of hype around personalization for fashion eCommerce. Rightly so, too.
Platforms such as Dressipi come with tools such as automated product tagging and product recommendations & outfit recommendations. Dressipi’s focus on creating customer-centred eCommerce experience means you’ll improve customer experiences and increase conversion.
Customer Marketing Automation
Solutions such as Dot Digital provide technology to keep consumers engaged between purchases with cross/upsell options, brand updates, and targeted campaigns.
Powerful SMS/email retargeting keeps customers engaged throughout the customer journey. This might include a cart recovery nudge via email or a discount code sent via a text message. This will ensure you push more transactions over the line.
Fashion Omnichannel Success Story: JD Sports
Sportswear giant – and Pimberly customer – JD Sports recently transformed Oxford Street into an ‘interactive AR claw grabber game’.
To unlock the experience, shoppers scan the Snapcode on the store window and the arcade game appears on the storefront. Or, passers-by simply point the camera on the device at the storefront.
Far from being a gimmick, the experience demonstrates the potential retailers have when it comes to creating omnichannel retail experiences. In fact, JD Sports’ recent AR experimentation is part of a wider omnichannel strategy embracing social media, e-gift cards, interactive brick-and-mortar experiences, click-and-collect, and a mobile app.
Developing a fashion omnichannel strategy takes careful planning and investment. This is because there needs to be a fluid connection between your offline and online channels. With that in mind, bridging the gap between digital and physical worlds isn’t always straightforward.
So, adopting a logical, customer-first approach with a digital mindset will improve the omnichannel experience for your customers. Ultimately, the impact of an omnichannel fashion strategy includes more satisfied customers, fewer abandoned carts, and increased sales. There’s no two ways about it, a fashion omnichannel approach is well worth the investment.