Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein have both been quoted as saying that opportunity is born out of adversity. Looking back on the first half of this year, we can truly feel the weight of their words. From buying the right stocks to enabling your business to provide essential services as the world’s normal operations waned – or shifting your product offering into something more relevant to consumer demand – opportunities enveloped us, much like the pandemic did.
Impact of COVID-19 on Retailers
As many of the world’s largest firms saw their revenues recede, other businesses continued to thrive. Business Insider says Netflix “demolished growth targets in Q1” by adding nearly 16 million subscribers to its customer base. CNBC says, “Walmart’s e-commerce sales grew by 74% and its same-store sales jumped by 10% in the first quarter,” of 2020.
Another segment that did particularly well was athleisure clothing and loungewear – a fancy word for sweat pants, sweatshirts and pajamas.
Forbes contributor Kaleigh Moore wrote, “In the loungewear category, Richer Poorer shared that they sold three times the number of sweats online in the three weeks following the March shelter-in-place mandate than they had in all of 2019.”
As COVID places a tighter grip on the U.S. in the early part of the summer, it’s not too late to evaluate your company’s own adversity and identify opportunities for a Phoenix-style comeback. If anything, now is the time to act – especially if your business operates in the retail industry.
Retail Technology Use Case: Augmented Reality
At 7T, we’re constantly asked how to improve the online shopping experience through augmented reality clothes fitting. Businesses see Fit Freedom, the AR fitting app we built for Rebel Athletic, and want to know how they too can integrate technology into their operations. Today, the app’s clothes fitting accuracy stands at 99.4%, which has fundamentally and profoundly changed Rebel Athletic’s efficiency and revenue.
The returns, exchanges, and fitting obstacles that plagued Rebel for years no longer exist. The real reason for their newfound success? Rebel’s leadership saw tremendous opportunity in innovation. Considering that returns cost clothing retailers more than $600 billion each year, there’s clearly more innovation that needs to be implemented within the retail industry.
In addition to reducing returns and exchanges, leveraging cutting-edge fitting technology can improve other aspects of the clothing retail industry.
As retailers begin to implement fitting technology like Fit Freedom, they empower customers to buy with confidence from anywhere in the world — including the comfort of their own home. And, every one of those technology-enabled, successful transactions produces a wealth of information that can be funneled back into product development.
By leveraging a fitting tool, clothing retailers can generate a database of information regarding their customers’ average measurements, the fitting charts of the top-selling items, and countless other data points. Data analysis can help inform clothing designers as they develop items for upcoming seasons. The better they become at producing proven, widely-accepted garments (based on data-driven insights) the happier the customers are and the more confidently they shop – whether they’re looking for loungewear or workwear.
Embracing Innovation in the Retail Clothing Industry
However, retail clothing is an industry that holds tightly to its old ways. Even this observation shouts, “Opportunity!” The clothing retailers that thrive are those that embrace innovation through all obstacles – the retail apocalypse, the COVID-19 pandemic, you name it.
If your clothing retail company is looking for a technology partner with a business-first approach, 7T can help. We work tirelessly to understand the ins and outs of your business, helping you identify opportunities for greater efficiency, cost savings, revenue growth or combination of all three benefits.
If you don’t work in retail but have a need that would benefit from technology, reach out to us today. Our technology consultants are eager to answer your questions.