In the last two years, specialty and apparel retailers have had to quickly adopt business strategies that build in flexibility to support new operational and labor requirements, as well as enable new shopping behaviors to meet changes in customer expectations. To succeed in the future, specialty and apparel retailers need to continue to reimagine their brick-and-mortar locations -- but how can they leverage technology to make that transformation sustainable and valuable?
Here are two trends we’re watching for specialty and apparel retail.
Trend #1: With health and safety concerns, along with consumers’ desires for immediacy and ease, “experience” has taken on a new meaning.
How to adapt: Use a modern point-of-sale solution and that can support a legacy environment, offer new functionality, facilitate quick checkouts, and enables a low to no-touch experience. While omnichannel strategies that combine physical and digital channels have been present and evolving for years, retailers’ have had to accelerate their retail transformations and prioritize digital capabilities. Today, the physical store is an extension of consumers’ digital experiences and preferences. Customers are gravitating toward contactless shopping and payment methods, and in-person shopping has changed dramatically, with a preference for POS systems that can interact with mobile devices. Associates and shoppers want a seamless path, with the option to interact with as many or as few people during their shopping journey as they’d like. We expect that to continue in the future, so retailers need to deploy technology so that shoppers have the choice to move between different shopping methods based on their needs.
Trend #2: Stores have to move at an unprecedented rate to figure out how to deliver the new experiences that shoppers want.
How to adapt: Your store’s retail technology solutions need to scale long term, so make sure they are flexible enough continually evolve and enable new experiences, while being reliable enough to ensure they don’t need to be replaced every few years. If you’re looking to adapt a new shopping or payment method to meet your customers’ needs or pivot in your operations strategy, your in-store hardware should not be a barrier to innovation. Because the digital share of apparel and department store revenue is estimated to increase to 70% by 20251, your hardware solutions need to operate in multiple use cases like BOPIS, curbside pickup, kiosk checkout, inventory lookup, delivery tracking, and more. That hardware should also be able to interact with consumer-owned devices like smartphones and tablets. Technology in specialty and apparel stores needs to be retail hardened and able to handle common occupational hazards like liquid spills, constant cleaning and lint and dust accumulation. When your hardware is resilient, you can avoid shutting down lanes and keep lines moving smoothly for your shoppers. A system that can handle today’s environment and integrate with new digital applications and future peripherals will be critical to help specialty and apparel retailers be ready for what’s next.
Toshiba can help you navigate today’s retail challenges and help you prepare for tomorrow. With our broad portfolio of hardware, software, and services offerings, and, you know you’ll have a true partner in your business. Our team of dedicated retail and technology experts listens to understand what you need to serve your customers well, streamline your operations, and gain a competitive advantage. check out our market snapshot to learn more about what apparel and specialty retail stores need to consider to successfully navigate the changes in retail today and in the future.
1 “The Four Imperatives for Store Success in Apparel/Specialty Retail,” Incisiv