The data is clear: traditional retail is under siege and the sting is mostly being felt across small and mid-sized fashion businesses. Retail is now veering towards building an omnichannel customer experience - a trend that is quickly becoming the norm for fashion retailers. At the core lies the concept of unifying online and in-store into a single, seamless offering - with the agility to adjust inventory levels across online and offline. Fashion brands such The Rockport Group have already started integrating their retail stores and e-commerce systems to facilitate omnichannel functionalities such as click and collect, and buy online and return at any store.
By unifying channels, brands are able to get in-demand products into the hands of consumers regardless of the channel and in some cases, intelligently source inventory from another location to meet demand for out-of-stock products at the store. Instead of perceiving this shift as a risk, mid-sized retailers should be emboldened by the new trend and seize the opportunities it presents.
This viewpoint is not without merit as mid-sized retailers cannot compete with bigger retailers on endless aisles of product choice. Instead, they should be hyper-focused on driving fully responsive storefronts through a concerted effort of integrating inventory, customers, and products into a single view to attract new consumers and build long-lasting relationships – digital and physical – wherever the shoppers are.