Omnichannel Retailing in Fashion: Connecting Online and Offline To Drive Growth

Experiential Retail
nexite

In an era where shoppers want to browse everywhere and buy anywhere, omnichannel retailing is a must-have. 21% of fashion retail sales take place today from ecommerce, and more and more of these orders are being fulfilled from retail stores. For brick-and-mortar stores to successfully support fashion retail’s omnichannel makeover and deliver winning customer experiences, stores and store operations have to get smarter.

 

And while shoppers come into stores to touch and try on the styles they love, reaching true omnichannel retailing means going digital. 

 

In this post, we explore omnichannel trends in fashion retail, and how transformative in-store technologies are reweaving the fabric of in-store retail experience: eliminating friction points, creating standout customer experiences, and driving growth across bricks and clicks.            

Omnichannel Retailing: Using Stores to Drive Value Across Channels

The quick guide to omnichannel retailing

Omnichannel retail is a way to make fashion move as fast as consumers do. Imagine browsing instagram, finding the perfect outfit, jumping to your favorite brand’s online store, and with a few taps, getting it delivered to their local physical store (or shipped to your door from that local store).

 

But omnichannel is more than just convenience – it’s about creating magical, personalized experiences that put the customer at the center. And customers who want to control their path to purchase now expect a frictionless journey: products always in stock, and multiple fulfillment options. To make this happen, retailers have adopted omnichannel solutions such as cross-channel inventory availability and store-based fulfillment. 

 

Real-time data, automation, and advancements in AI and ML are already empowering retailers to offer breakthrough retailing – from demand forecasting and enhanced inventory management to better hybrid retail, frictionless checkout and returns, loss prevention, enhanced personalization, and more. 

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What is the meaning of omnichannel?

Omnichannel retailing calls for a holistic strategy where businesses create seamless and effortless high-quality customer experiences across connected channels, whether physical (offline) or digital (online). 

From Single to Multi to Omnichannel Retailing

In the beginning, there was one channel. 

Single-channel retailing is about using a single method to reach customers. The single channel can be a physical location or an Instagram shop. When the digital revolution first hit, brands tended to think binary: either physical stores, or specific online channels. 

 

And then there were many. 

With the introduction of multiple new channels, retailers have started to utilize a growing number of available ways to connect. In a multichannel setting, a fashion brand can have physical stores, a dedicated website, a mobile app, social media accounts, and more.

 

Now we’ve hit Omnichannel: the integration of a multichannel retailing strategy to create seamless shopping and remarkable experiences.

Multichannel Vs. Omnichannel Retailing

Omnichannel is stealing the spotlight from multichannel retailing. It’s about channels working seamlessly together, reflecting customer shopping behavior today: using multiple channels to compare prices, find discounts, or read reviews. 


For example, Shopify found that nearly three out of five consumers first browse items online before purchasing them in a physical store.

Multichannel vs. Omnichannel in Retail:
The runway face-off
Omnichannel

 

  • Customer Centric
  • Focus is on customer
  • Holistic: channels work together seamlessly and consistently, with more integration and fewer disruptions
Multichannel

 

  • Channel Centric
  • Focus is on brand
  • Segregated: channels work independently, optimized individually

Omnichannel Technology: Adapting to Meet Fashion Retail’s Demands

In the age of real-time data, automation, and AI magic, retailers are bringing the heat – technology, that is –  to fashion retail. Digital experiences continued to shape in-store behaviors. Consumer expectations for greater convenience and omnichannel experiences remained. Given this shift, retailers increasingly take a holistic view of online and offline channels as complementary and connected.

 

For their stores to fulfill their potential in this dynamic environment, fashion brands have been on the hunt for next-gen omnichannel tech solutions that will enable everything from predicting trends to flawless inventory management and the ultimate checkout experience,

Where are shoppers fulfilling their orders today?

53% in physical stores

48% buy online for delivery

30% via BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store)

Source: mytotalretail.com

How to Deliver Success With An Omnichannel Retailing Strategy

So what do brands need to master omnichannel retailing?

Eyes in the store

Stores are the most profitable stand-alone channel – retailers continue to open new locations. To harness the power of your physical stores for driving and supporting omnichannel sales, they need to be at the center of your omnichannel strategy. And that means you need to be able to automatically trace every style in your stores, all the time.

 

Your online offerings match what’s actually available for fulfillment in store. With real-time inventory accuracy and stock availability, you can offer items online even when there’s only one left in the store.

 

DID YOU KNOW?
More than 2 in 3 businesses that embraced omnichannel strategies have seen an increase in store revenue.
What are some of the benefits of real-time inventory tracking?

On the store level, team members can easily check on items: which are available and where. Using connected stores applications, shelves can automatically send alerts when they need replenishment and catch sales that would otherwise be lost.

 

Real-time tracking also helps to balance inventory (overstock, understock and out-of-stock), reduce shrinkage (lost, damaged, and stolen items), and enable mobile checkout and returns. 

 

Combined with strategic decisions at the HQ level, this input helps promote inventory control, identify patterns and trends as they happen, localize assortments, optimize allocation, and better utilize sales floor space – within each store or across the retail chain.

Implementing a system that adds brick-and-mortar real-time tracking to online traceability opens the way for synchronizing all stock and adding on more omnichannel solutions, making everything much smarter.

Measure and understand every step of the sales funnel

Along with real-time traceability, understanding the in-store customer journey from browse to buy is a must for understanding what your customers want, where, and when. 

 

Key performance indicators like clicks, Impressions, engagement, conversion and abandonment are e-commerce’s way of tracking what customers want as well as what they end up buying. It’s the golden rule of the sales funnel: improve one metric, and you improve them all. 

 

Now, real-time tracking technologies like NanoBT are helping retailers uncover never-before-seen data on how brick-and-mortar shoppers engage with merchandise at every step of the sales funnel. Say goodbye to blind spots like not knowing where styles are at any given time, not knowing what’s on display where, and no way of understanding why some styles are zero sellers.

 

These insights go a step beyond sales data to not only give real-time inventory accuracy, but also reveal where there’s hidden sales potential and where styles are trending down.  

KPIs for The Customer Journey in Stores:

Viewed = Which SKUs or items did my customer see?

 

Picked Up = Which style do my customers interact with, down to the size and color level?

 

Tried on =What do customers take into the fitting room?

 

Conversion = What styles do my customers pick up and then buy?

 

Abandonment = Which styles do my customers pick up, but abandon before they reach checkout?

 

These real-time, item-level metrics can help refine your brand’s VM strategy, assortments, allocation, space utilization, pricing, and inventory management within each store.

Personalize it

The magic of personalization is that any retailer can offer customers a VIP experience, just by making sure the styles, colors and even sizes they want are in stock and available wherever they are.

 

Think about going into a store and finding something you like. You look around but you can’t see it. You ask a staff member and finally realize that it’s not available in your size. You go online just to see that the item isn’t available at all because inventory is not synced across on- and offline. This friction can ruin your experience – but your customers don’t have to go through it:

 

Do you have this in a size small? 
AI-based solutions that capture when styles are picked up or tried on but never bought because they’re the wrong size, and create localized recommendations to recommend tailored size curves per store.

 

Carry over “you might like” suggestions from the digital world to the in-store experience

Brands can send recommendations directly to store shoppers via a brand app, or create upsell ‘cheat sheets’ for store staff to suggest to customers, based on what people pick up or try on in store. A branded mobile app can also offer a loyalty program and other personalized content

 

Whatever brands may choose, the optimal personalization will ultimately be unique to the player and continuously evolve.

 

Current and Projected Omnichannel Retail Trends

Current fashion retail trends focus on adopting technology-driven tools and exceptional retail experiences:

 

  • Real-time Item-Level Tracking – Giving physical stores the ability to automatically trace every item, all the time means your online offerings match what’s actually available for fulfillment in store

 

  • AI Retail Solutions: AI can analyze thousands of merchandise touchpoints to see where there’s hidden potential for more sales, or send early warnings when a style is trending downwards. 

 

  • Empower store teams with automation – new solutions with real-time tracking can help store staff get automatic alerts when omni orders come in, easily find products in store, and prepare them for BOPIS pickup by a customer, or for a delivery.
  • Merge physical and digital in stores: Let customers merge online and offline in stores with mobile apps that make it easy to browse digitally and then locate items in store. Features like Bluetooth-enabled scanning let customers scan product tags with their phones to view product details, confirm brand authenticity, and find the exact size they want.  

 

  • Checkout lines are checking out. New RFID and mobile self-checkout allow customers to skip the checkout lines by scanning items, paying on their phone, and walking out. Store staff can focus more time on customers who want the personalized attention, and customers get to skip the top pain point in online shopping – it’s a win win.

Master Omnichannel Retailing

The Connected Channels solution lets real-time tracking and AI work its magic to leverage physical stores and merchandise in new ways. The result:  physical in-store experiences with digital convenience. 

 

With every style, store and other channel connected, brands can use stores as data-driven fulfillment hubs to accelerate and streamline shipping and delivery. Customers can scan items on their phone for frictionless self-checkout and BOPIS pickups. Customers can drop off items for return without ever waiting in line

 

The result: Nexite stitches together the best of physical and digital to deliver the ultimate retail experience, utilizing omnichannel technology that is easy-to-implement, cost-effective, and scalable.

Make real-time data your fashion staple

Quality data never goes out of fashion. Retailers already experience its value and benefits in digital commerce, but when you unleash real-time inventory traceability and – for the first time ever – full-funnel in-store sales data, you can power total inventory accuracy across online and offline channels, and improve everything from store revenue to operational efficiency, loss prevention, and the customer experience.

Tiny Tech Tag. Massive Amounts of Data. Endless Opportunities.

What makes this all possible is our NanoBT (Bluetooth) tag attached to every item and bringing it to life.

 

The battery-free, long-range communication technology provides a continuous stream of data flowing from your merchandise. Every tag automatically sends packets of data to fixed readers and the AI-led Connected Merchandise Solution. Pinpointing every item’s exact location at every moment, the cloud dashboard paves the way for multiple omnichannel solutions. 

 

Featuring robust AI and data analytics capabilities, Connected Retail with Nexite powers disruptive benefits that drive higher sales across the chain, more efficient store operations, and informed decision-making across your business.

No more guessing, no more scanning, no more manual anything.

NanoBT changes everything. See how - schedule a free demo now.

What is omnichannel in retailing?

Omnichannel retailing is a unified strategy in which retailers create cohesive, seamless retail and customer experiences across all touchpoints, physical and digital. The omnichannel retailing strategy is based on enhancing every part of the shopping experience, from assortment to availability, localization, personalization, shipping, delivery, and returns.

What is an example of omnichannel retail?

Omnichannel is a strategy that can take different shapes and forms. A great example is an omnichannel customer experience where online content matches and complements the in-store shopping experience. In apparel, tools that use facial recogniton and shopper's measurements to create 3d models empower customers to try on products anywhere. Real-time inventory accuracy ensures that whatever customers see online is available in store, and when they go to pick up their order, it's not only in stock, but ready and waiting for them. When shoppers walk into a store and click into an item on the online app, they can see its location on a digital map of the store to quickly and easily find exactly what they're looking for.

Why is omnichannel retail so vital to the customer experience?

Done right, omnichannel technology can create significant value and is a key to brand growth in a crowded market. Omnichannel is about meeting consumers where they hang out, offering them greater convenience, fewer barriers, personalized interactions, and a better experience, building trust and brand loyalty. With omnichannel tech solutions, brands gain the benefits of better data collection and analysis, operational efficiency, and store staff excellence and efficiency, and sales growth.
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