Last year one of the biggest consulting companies in the world - Accenture - released their retailer's guide. In general, it tried to answer the question: "How to keep up with the digital revolution?", but guess what was the most often used word? No, it wasn't "customer". It was "adaptability".
"Adaptability is the new hallmark of successful retail strategies, offering retailers a proactive way to meet the demands of consumers who are racing ahead to embrace an ever more connected and integrated shopping experience"
~ "Retail customers are shouting—are you adapting?" / Accenture report
How can retailers adapt? By knowing better their customer behaviors and giving them solutions that fit their shopping preferences. Last year 48% of all shoppers found it easier to make purchases using mobile devices, compared to 42% in the previous year. The mobile revolution is a fact, something that you can see happening around you. That's why we've decided to focus on mobile and that's why retailers should work hard to improve their mobile customer experience.
We wrote this article to show you a couple of useful mobile services and apps, to show how you can transform a physical fashion boutique into the store of XXI century. Don't worry, even if you run a small store, you don't need a fancy and expensive dedicated application - rather experiment with some of the existing solutions:
Although DropIt addresses its communication to shoppers, we encourage you as a business owner to take a closer look at it, and see how you can please your clients with some nice add-ons that make their lives a little easier. DropIt takes care of delivering orders from the physical stores right to the customers' location.
Everyone who loves shopping knows the pain of carrying all those bags from one store to another, and then home. With DropIt, your client leaves all their purchases in your store, in a dedicated bag or kiosk on the street. Just imagine how it can change the shopper's willingness to buy more and visit way larger number of boutiques! The customer gets all orders in one delivery. This service is also trackable in the app to know for sure when the shopping bags arrive.
"The idea behind Dropit emerged in 2014 when founder Karin Cabili was indulging some retail therapy in New York. She found herself weighed down by bags but was still keen to head straight out after a day of shopping. As she frustratingly travelled to her hotel to drop off the bags, the thought came to her mind: ‘What if I could drop off my bags at the stores where I bought them and have them delivered to my hotel?’ And so Dropit came to be."
The service is also very useful for retailers and for sure improves the overall customer experience. No integration is required. The company behind DropIt also claims that they will give you world class support to make the whole program work great for your store.
"As a user’s profile is built in the Dropit app and their spending habits are tracked from store to store, retailers are given a unique opportunity to gain the same level of knowledge about offline consumers as they would from online purchases." ~ Adam Pescod, Elite Business Magazine
More shops = more bags, and fewer problems with DropIt
One of the most fantastic things about fashion is the fashion community. As London fashionistas know, fashion events happen almost 24/7. It's hard to find out about all of them, but there is a solution for that - ChicMi.
What is it? ChicMi helps to discover the London fashion scene. It's a kind of local fashion calendar - and the range of events is really huge! Starting from those that raise the heartbeat the most - sample sales, through the meet-ups, conferences and finally - the inspiring exhibitions. Featured boutiques and designers range from established luxury brands to emerging designers and unique shops.
"Fashion should be experienced. We think a vibrant local fashion scene is the key to a healthy ecosystem, where fantastic emerging brands can thrive alongside international names.
We're mapping out the fashion scene in the key fashion cities, and building the biggest database of fashion brands, sales, events, and exhibitions in the world."
How can retailers use ChicMi in their stores? They should definitely submit their sales there and promote their events on ChicMi.
"Indeed, it’s not just a boon to consumers. Brands are granted special access to the platform where they can manage their events, keep their brand page up-to-date and see statistics about their sales, like which of their events has gained the most traction or how well their brand ranks as a whole, compared to other brands." ~ Jessica Schiffer, Glossy.co
Trouva is an online platform for independent boutiques where clients can discover design-led fashion, homeware and lifestyle products from around the UK. It connects online shoppers with one-of-a-kind stores and gives store owners a range of services, i.e. software, customer service, stock, packaging and finally - shipping. Retailers can choose a whole package or pick only some features as technology or customer service.
"We want to make boutiques and their distinctive products discoverable for shoppers anywhere in the world, which is reflected in the brand’s name meaning ‘A lucky find’. We love stumbling across treasures in the best boutiques, finding something original in there, something you wouldn’t expect, something that has been chosen by an expert."
Store owners can also get more customers by becoming featured on the Trouva website.
"Currently, the platform supports around 150 boutiques located solely in the UK. There are quite a lot of logistics involved with expanding to new cities, including partnerships with local couriers and bulk shipping deals with postal providers. That said, consumers can order goods on their platform from anywhere in the world. As the global demand for online retail continues to grow, it will be interesting to see where and how the brand grows from here." ~Felicia Williams, TechCrunch
This app is special not only because it's ours, but most of all because it's the first comprehensive shopping guide for travelling fashion lovers. It helps connect shoppers and boutiques based on shared style and customer needs. Users just need to define their fashion profile in a few simple steps to receive suggestions of unique local boutiques they wouldn't find any other way.
ShopTrotter showcases all kinds of brick-and- mortar shops selling clothing, shoes, and accessories. It locates shoppers to show what's interesting around them, so they won't miss anything matching their personal style. Users can easily find fashion designer locations, as well as affordable boutiques and high fashion spots.
"Define your style and get the list of boutiques matching your fashion personality. No more browsing thousands of stores or missing the right ones! We feature everything you may need - from one-of-a-kind independent boutiques, cool multi brands, department stores, high-street chains, and luxury flagships. Enjoy the special price for your purchase at cooperating shops. Just tell the sales associate you are the ShopTrotter and get the InsiderDiscount."
For retailers, ShopTrotter is a fairy matchmaker, drawing attention of customers with matching sense of style and defined shopping needs. The app drives valuable traffic to stores and introduces technological tools to analyze the footfall and get useful insights. Some of our advanced solutions allow retailers to re-target store visitors in the future and make them loyal customers even after they leave London.
"ShopTrotter plans your route to shopping success"
- Bill Robinson, Huffington Post
And the last, but not least...and not an app, but a service - Shopgate. In case you really need your own application - a simple solution that helps retailers to create their own e-commerce app, featuring products available in their physical location. Sounds cool? It seems you don't need to sell your car anymore to have your own dedicated app!
With Shopgate you can create your own app for all devices - Android, iOS and... web shop. All designs match iOS and Material Design standards. You can create the app with simple drag & drop editor, and then you'll even be able to send push notifications to your customers.
"Apps, that sends push notifications have 7x higher retention rates. You can also segment users by profile data or app events and send messages to specific groups, providing personalized, relevant messages that are significantly more effective than emails. Segmented messages have a 2x higher click through rate over mass publications."
All of the above + advanced in-app and in-shop analytics system, results in better understanding of your customers' behavior. And - of course - there is a built-in integration with the most popular e-commerce systems. “We’re giving every retailer access to the future of retail with simple, powerful mobile apps that are proven to drive sales and lift customer loyalty.“ - Says Marc Biel, CEO of Shopgate.
As you can read in the article written by Louis Bedigan on Benzinga - "Even merchants which are not in the top 10 or 100 merchant segments can actually benefit from this technology. (...) Merchants pay a very low fixed fee and then they pay a transaction fee on top of it. At the end of the day, you could summarize it and say, 'We've enabled merchants of all sizes to participate in the mobile commerce market."
With Shopgate - selling clothes online is just around the corner.