By now, you've probably heard of Amazon's not-so-secret plan to dominate the apparel market. Amazon has recently launched 7 private fashion labels that sell a range of mid-priced apparel and accessories for men, women and children.
If you’ve been following Amazon's news, this should not surprise you. They’ve been making a move toward this vertical for the last few years starting with the acquisition of online clothing retailer Shopbop in 2006, followed by the big-profile acquisition of Zappos’ for $807 million in 2009. According to the Verge.com, Amazon also sponsored New York Men's Fashion Week for the first time last year in an attempt to further its presence in the world of fashion.
Will this change customers’ expectations?
Certainly. Amazon provides selection and convenience in the way that brick and mortar cannot beat. Their strengths on inventory fulfillment, shipping speed and customer experience offset the fact that you can’t try on the products. Shoppers have already become more and more comfortable shopping for clothing online. With amazon having everything they need in one click, it is not difficult for them to give it a try. Amazon shoppers have already ordered everything from Amazon -- from books and electronic devices to diapers. Adding more product categories into their basket seem like the logical next step.
They also offer free returns, making it easy for them to compete with both online and brick and mortar stores.
What can apparel brands and retailers do to stay competitive?
Amazon has already had access to 300+ million people in their own home. More than ever before, brands and retailers need to make every single interaction with customers count. Every customer who walks in the store means an opportunity to drive conversions.
Endless aisle capability is going to be your Swiss Army knife to compete not just with Amazon, but also with other brands. Endless aisle allows you to showcase online inventory or selections that are available through your Dropship partners without taking up more space. Even when a specific size or color is out of stock, you can still capture the sales opportunity by offering to ship to your customer’s home.
A self-serve endless aisle solution that is specifically designed for consumers is also a great tool to enhance the shopping experience. It’ll enable brands and retailers to provide consistent a brand experience and rich product information to help customers find the items that truly fit their lifestyles.
After all, customers come to the store to experience the brand and touch and feel the products. Being able to try clothing on and get the right size or color before they leave the store will help prevent them from finding something else and buying from the likes of Amazon.
Ready to compete with Amazon? Read our whitepaper: 5 Steps Toward Reimagining the Physical Store!