This recent article from Evigo makes the claim that “customers buy more with self-serve access to inventory” when it comes to fashion retailing. That got us thinking about the importance of inventory in the fashion retail world, which we think might be one of the keys to the crossover between physical and digital.
Loyal customers appreciate inventory transparency and accuracy — it’s ethical and simply a good business practice to be as open as possible with inventory levels. In the online context, it could also potentially drive conversions by providing the stimulus necessary for a customer to make a purchase. An example of this can be seen in Amazon’s “Only X left in stock — Order soon” messages. As long as the numbers given in such a situation are accurate, then the result can be a win-win for you and your customer: you make another sale, and the customer doesn’t miss out or have to wait longer to purchase the item.
Building eCommerce functionality that improves the user experience by offering product inventory information easily and intuitively could also span the gap between digital and physical, ultimately driving customers in to your stores. For example, by showing in-store inventory levels of specific items, customers can choose to simply go to the nearest store location to make the purchase, rather than waiting for the product to be shipped. And in the digital world of today, maintaining real-time inventory levels has never been easier. The possibilities are pretty endless — check out a fashion retail app we built for a recent client to see how we integrated inventory levels.
You need to tailor both the online and in-store experiences, and they should both feel connected back to the brand (if you’re into buzzwords, this is where “omnichannel” comes into play). Although the online shopping experience is going to be different than the in-store one, there are definitely overlapping principles to learn from the traditional approach that you can apply to eCommerce. To that point, is your eCommerce team learning from your in-store team? And does your in-store team ever collaborated with your eCommerce team? While it might take some creative thinking, both can leverage knowledge gained in the opposite arena to improve the overall experience.
We’ve blogged about this before, but are your experiences in-store taking advantage of the online shopper’s persona and previous engagement experiences outside of the store? It’s so easy to gather data about your online customers’ behavior, and this data can be analyzed, revealing insights about your online shoppers, some of which can be applied down the line to your in-store shoppers (many of whom would also be online shoppers). And as we just mentioned, it goes the other way too: your online experience should be influenced and informed by prior knowledge about your different types of customers gained through in-store selling.