4 Tips to Prepare Your Apparel Store for Fall

Discover essential tips to position your store in an optimal position for the upcoming fall season.

With fall fast approaching, apparel stores that want to stay ahead of the curve are using these typically quieter months to prepare for the change of season.
The beginning of a new season marks an opportunity for retailers to review their past performance, apply new learnings, tweak processes and in general, make the necessary changes to put their store in good stead.

September is close to the last quarter of the year which brings with it a plethora of promotions like: Black Friday, back-to-school, Halloween and Christmas. So it’s an opportune time to get your e-commerce store ready by reviewing your shop and making key preparations to facilitate retail footfall (online and offline).

Essential Tips for Your Apparel Store

tips to prepare your apparel store for fall

Utilize Your Data

Upon reviewing a survey conducted by Alteryx and Retailwire, Vend (Retail management software) reported that out of the 350 retailers and brand manufacturers questioned – 76% confirmed that gathering insights was critical to their performance. All in all, being data-centric allowes stores to make beter business decisions that enhance customer satisfaction, as well as improve your store in general.

The apparel industry is innovative and moves rapidly. Take the quieter month of September to review your technology to facilitate a more personalized experience based on your customers needs and preferences.

For online stores, analyze the data from SEO tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console. The results from these tools will inform you on the best changes to make with regard to your highest performing pages, the product pages that yield the least and most amount of sales, and which part of the buying process prompts the biggest drop offs.

Vend also emphasizes the benefits of looking at different metrics to make the most out of your data collectively. One example they give is looking at both your transaction and foot traffic data together because “looking at both metrics together (i.e. transaction count ÷ gross traffic) will give you your conversion rate. This is a powerful metric that tells you the ratio of store visits to the number of people who actually bought something.”

Revamp Your Shop Design and Product Pages

Pandemic-enforced lockdowns drove the population to shop online. When asked to comment about the rise in stores adopting a digital straetgy out of necessiy, Ratul Shah (Head of Product Marketing, SAP Customer Data Cloud) replied “…digital had to support the physical business. More and more people went digital. Apps came out at a rapid rate. More accounts were created…”

In the light of the ‘new normal’ physical stores will need to pull out all the stops to attract customers to their store. Before sale season starts is a good time to execute changes to freshen your in-store displays and window. When asked about the inspiration behind their fall-inspired shop window, Pink Pointes Dancewear (UK-based dance shop) replied “it happened to be September and the leaves were beginning to change so I made a display with hundreds of leaves in beautiful autumnal colors and this pair of boots on top as they looked like Dr. Martens and great for stomping in piles of leaves.” Also, remember that as the pandemic is still ongoing and people are concerned about health & safety, your store should communicate clearly how it is keeping both employees and shoppers safe.

Online stores can also take this time to revamp their digital platforms. Every tweak should be geared to boosting the brand, upgrading user experience, improving customer retention, and selling more products. Web design updates can include changing colors (all options should be brand-focused) and swapping low quality for higher quality images.

When assessing your product images and descriptions, step into the mind of a visitor by asking questions like: Are there better descriptions you can adopt to improve your SEO? Which pictures need to be updated? Are the categories easy to navigate? Is the checkout page stress-free?

Finally, use this time to position your store for success by fixing bugs and doing the necessary user experience tests to ensure visitors have the best journey possible once they land on your site.

Be Inspired by Your Competitors

Kayo Digital firmly believes in the importance of competitor analysis because it helps businesses “recognise how you can enhance your own business strategy”. In addition, a thorough competitor assessment you can discover the areas you can “out-do your competitors” to “keep your customer attention”. This all leads to having a “competitive edge over others in your sector”.

During the busier months in the year, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing and competitive apparel market. During this quieter month:

  • Update and familiarize yourself with your direct (and indirect) competitors
  • Focus on the top 3 – 5, build a profile that consists of key information like their product categories, delivery options, content/marketing promotions and the like
  • Compare these profiles to yours to ascertain similarities, differences and any tactics your store can adopt

Enhance Your E-Commerce App

A report written by the State of Fashion eCommerce, Fashion Network stated that “46% of online sales now go through a ‘mobile’ device, 44% through a traditional computer and the rest through a tablet, that means the combined smartphone/tablet figure adds up to a dominant 56%.”

Before COVID-19 struck, more people were opting to purchase via their smartphones, now we are in the ‘new normal’ – mobile e-commerce traffic and sales continue to soar.
Furthermore, a study conducted by Criteo showed that “mobile app conversion rates are 2x higher than conversion rates for mobile sites. With the knowledge that apps are outperforming mobile sites, during these calmer weeks in September e-commerce stores can explore how to enhance their customer’s digital experience on their mobile apps. This can include optimizing the app’s homepage and shopping cart, as well as looking into augmented reality, one-click payments, and personalized services.

Following these tips will make September more productive and interesting for your store and you’re likely to reap the benefits during the busy months ahead.

Image Credits – Featured image by Arturo Rey. Main image by Cull Korie.

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