New research from Scandit highlights the changing omnichannel expectations of today’s fashion consumer and how retailers can respond to keep physical stores alive.
The company’s report is based on independent research from executives at 73 leading EMEA fashion brands.
In addition, an online survey of 3,523 consumers was conducted in various countries including the UK, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Germany, Sweden, Norway and the UAE.
Accustomed to a fast and convenient online experience, fashion consumers demand efficient in-store shopping, seamless customer service, and engaging real-world experiences.
European retailers responded appropriately, with 93% of those surveyed stating that they see the retail experience as key to securing the future of physical stores and 73% saying that their technology investment over the next 12 months will be used to deliver new omnichannel experiences for customers.
Planning to use technology to empower store associates to become concierges such as consultants is seen as a priority for 59% of retailers.
Today’s fashion consumers have high expectations for a fully connected and experiential shopping journey, and their three main points are clear: they delay in-store shopping due to long lines (47%), limited stock availability (43%), and partners shops who were unable to help answer their questions (36%).
54% of fashion retailers say investing in digital tools and capabilities such as client apps is a priority in the next 12 months, and the results are clear: 84% of those who have deployed client apps report an increase in their average order size from store transactions.
One of the industry’s biggest challenges is the ability to recruit, train and retain high-quality store associates, with 48% of retailers surveyed highlighting this issue.
Technology can solve some of these challenges. Store associates equipped with multi-functional client applications are not only empowered from time-consuming basic tasks but also have always-on access to critical information including stock levels, product details, customer data, and cross-sell/upsell information.
53% of retailers claim their client apps increase customer loyalty, and 91% of those using mobile PoS have seen reduced strikes, increased sales, and increased store association mobility.
Samuel Mueller, CEO at Scandit, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the rise of the savvy shopper, with the growth of online shopping, and the message is clear: consumers want a connected retail experience that is flexible and seamless at every touchpoint.”
“Intelligent data retrieval gives fashion store partners the confidence to accurately and efficiently provide consulting services to customers.”
“By offering an intuitive and user-friendly experience on a smart device they can take with them anywhere, throughout the day, mobile solutions enabled with smart data retrieval technology will quickly become second nature to customers and store associates.”
“Technology that offers enhanced customer experiences such as personalized bidding, checking stock availability, or scanning and paying presents a huge opportunity to build resilience on the road.”
When it comes to the three most valuable elements of in-store fashion shopping, the ability to touch and try on products ranks first.
Second, consumers want to buy right away, without waiting or shipping costs, and third they want an innovative and experienced store environment with elements such as demonstrations, virtual fitting rooms, or in-store events.
Looking to the future, most consumers expressed interest in in-store omnichannel mixed experiences. Surveys show that:
75% will use the mobile app to access in-store personalized promotions and offers
72% would love to use a mobile app to learn more about a product
67% of consumers enjoy using ‘scan and pay’ mobile app technology
46% of consumers are motivated by demonstrations, displays and events to visit the store
25% want to see more augmented reality experiences including product information and digital coupons.
To cater to this new demand, 71% of fashion retailers have invested in in-store technology such as mobile clients, payment apps, and the digital technology that supports them.
73% can scan barcodes to provide additional product information and availability, 68% can identify in-store customers to offer a more personalized shopping experience, and 48% have a mobile PoS app to help reduce queues and strikes.