Creating a safe clothing shopping experience for customers

clothing shopping

By the end of 2019, most retailers and technology startups focused on retail were analyzing and trying to implement new in-store solutions to improve customer experience. Just a couple of months later everything has changed. With a global pandemic and most of the world in quarantine, even with stores reopening, we have a long way to go for customers to feel safe to go back to the mall and enjoying clothing shopping.

A survey conducted by First Insight shows that 65% of women and 54% of men do not feel comfortable to use dressing rooms. In addition to maintaining social distancing in a confined space, will consumers be ok with trying on clothes that were probably touched or tried on before? Will customers used to an online shopping experience even want to return to a physical store? We will try to answer these and other questions in this post.


Ecommerce is here to stay for small retailers

Buying online is not a trend, it has been a reality for quite some time, and Amazon’s stock trading over $2,500 is evidence of that. A large part of consumers already bought from their home computer and their cellphones, and that market share just grew a lot in 2020, as it was the only option for most of the population in the 1st quarter of the year.

And that creates a huge challenge for clothing retailers that before the pandemic had as their competitive advantage the proximity and close relationship with their community. You still need to preserve that, but you cannot just expect that your customers will act exactly like before. They spent several weeks shopping online and created a habit that will be difficult to change.

If you haven’t yet, it’s time to go omnichannel and release an online store to reinforce your physical presence. There are many reliable options in the market for you to build a simple and effective platform for your customers, such as Wix, Shopify, Weebly and others.


Clean as a whistle

Nothing is more important than the safety of your staff and customers. First and foremost, follow all city, state, and federal guidelines. In addition to minimizing the chance of anyone from catching the disease in your store, you avoid receiving any fines. Customized masks for your staff can be a fun and distinguished way to keep your staff safe (also consider distributing them to shoppers).

Clean thoroughly and repeatedly all areas touched by customers. Create a policy for retaining clothes that customers took to the fitting room and didn’t buy. Leave them at least 24 hours off the rack and if possible, extend that period to 48 hours.

We believe that there will be plenty of sanitizing solutions for retailers in the market in the coming months. Whether you use a solution based on ozone or ultraviolet light, it is an investment that can bring you peace of mind as well as a marketing opportunity, as you can create social media content showing the use of these systems as a competitive advantage, always with safety in mind.


Window shopping is back

Focus on local marketing and get creative with your window display. As many potential customers may still be afraid to enter in all stores, you must be creative to attract them as they walk by your shop.

In addition to the basic strategy of highlighting a new collection or items on sale, you can use fun messages, media equipment, toys and everything that will catch the eye and make consumers stop.

If you have enough space, a good tip is to space your mannequins at least 4 feet apart, so you induce people to follow social distancing outside and inside your store.


Multichannel distribution

In other words, deliver the product the way your customer wants. If you feel that store traffic is slow, expand your social media marketing strategy and increase your spending on social networks to direct traffic to your online store. If you feel conversion is low at your stores, maybe people are afraid of trying on clothes there. Create a user-friendly return policy for clothing shopping, where people can feel more comfortable to try some options at home and return what they don’t like. If delivery costs reduce your margin, establish a free curbside pickup option.

Yes, it may feel like you will scramble a little right now, but it is critical to try different tactics to create the perfect mix and expand your customer base.

Use social media engagement to keep in touch with your customers and ask for their feedback on how they would feel safer purchasing from your store.


The Number(s): 65% and 54%

The Action: Safety is paramount, there is no way around it. Establish a new process with your staff and let them be part of the decision. Expand your sales channels and communicate constantly with your customer base. Those clothing retailers that can create a trustworthy relationship with their customer base post-pandemic will thrive in this “new normal”.


Did you like this post on the new clothing shopping experience? Check out our blog for more small business actionable insights.

One Comment

  1. Will the demise of department stores be good for small retailers?

    20 Jul 2020 16:45:48

    […] an amazing shopping experience to consumers. The problem is that most of these experiences are not compatible with a contactless society and they need to be […]

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