Fashion retailers are facing a hard time owing to the changing consumers buying behavior and expectations brought by proliferation and penetration of digital media. It has become essential for fashion and apparel retailers to leverage the power of digital society. Consumers, today, make decisions based on convenience and ease of purchase. Therefore, to provide a seamless buying experience, fashion retailers are adapting their business to omnichannel sale model.

Omnichannel is a progression of multichannel marketing, which ensures a seamless approach to customer experience across all sales channels. In multichannel retailing, a customer has an option of buying from different purchase points such as in-store, online, interactive voice response system, and even through wearable technology. However, all these mediums remain independent in multichannel strategy. In Omnichannel approach, all channels are integrated with each other. For example, a customer can buy a garment online but can provide an option to collect it from stores. While multichannel retailing offers customers only different channels to shop from, omnichannel retailers get a 360-degree view of their customers’ purchase.

To ensure a seamless experience across various retail channels, it has become important for fashion retailers to focus on omnichannel strategy to win the loyalty of their customers. To do this, brands are required to connect offline and online stores. They need to offer the same price, same discounts, offers, products and even displays across all channels. Retailers need to amalgamate the in-store shopping experience with different digital mediums. With this, the shoppers can have all the information regarding offers and discounts, see if their desired products are available in-store, and get an idea of fit and finish of the merchandise in the stores and buy online. Further, it also allows the customers to pay through digital wallets and thus, avoid checkout counters.

In order to bring the digital and in-person shopping together, fashion retailers need to consider following aspects as well:

1. A consumer researches a lot before buying any new product. He seeks information such as details about product, reviews, and trends online. With so much of information available online, he expects the similar details from the in-store staff. This requires fashion retailers to make their in-store associates loaded with the wealth of information to help them make better and more creative buying recommendations.

2. Customers should have stock visibility to let them buy how they like. To give customers this flexibility, retailers are putting everything online. With this, online shoppers can reserve their product in stores while other customers can order online from the shop.

3. The need of the hour is that one-to-one relations should not be confined to personal visits only, for the same reason, retailers are updating their in-store associates with technology that let them interact with the customers online. This will help the in-store staff to inform customers about further ideas, alert them to new products. This is done via text, email, call or FaceTime. Gradually, this effort helps in building relationships and strengthens brand loyalty. However, more vital is the fact that this amalgamation of online and offline should encourage the person to buy, not make him feel stalked.

The increasing use of mobiles and online buying has changed the perspectives of shopping altogether. Omnichannel has become a necessity for the retailers and this is here to stay for some time for sure.

Author's Bio: 

Mayank Mohindra is an author on apparel, fashion, and textile industry. His articles are based on latest apparel industry news, textile news and/or analysis of the dynamics of global apparel trade, and fashion industry.