Though apparel retail took a major hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic with sales declining by 16.4 per cent it, consumers continued to flock the online channels as they have now gotten acclimated to shopping online. Recent data provided by Quantum Metric, a SaaS platform, during this week apparel retailers generated an average weekly revenue growth rate that was 69 per cent higher than the same week in 2019. The number of orders also increased 79 per cent even though the average order value decreased by 60 per cent. The on average, weekly conversion rates also trended 29 percent higher versus the same week last year.
Linking physical with digital
Efrat Ravid, Chief Marketing Officer of Quantum Metric attributes this success to retailers timely shift to digital channel. Ravid believes, in future when retailers begin opening their stores again, they will have to adjust to this growing quantum of online shoppers and adapt their new in-store experience to an even more digitally savvy audience. Linking physical products with digital experiences will be one of the major challenges that retailers will face.
Ravid notes retailers will have to continue to fight this challenge over the course of their journey especially as more shoppers are likely going to turn to online shopping for their future apparel purchases.
Dealing with load time and checkout issues
One way retailers can counter this challenge is by elevating their online experience in kind. For this, they first need to deal with the issues of long load times or clunky checkout experiences that have plagued retailers since long. Retailers also need to have as much visibility of their customers as possible. This will help them determine areas where they are experiencing friction and how to prioritize issues to individual customer to ensure they have a really smooth experience.
As shoppers adapt to the pandemic, other recent studies have also been bullish on apparel sales growth. For instance, Fintech service provider ViaBill, which offers no-interest buy now pay later shopping experiences to consumers, expects fashion sales to increase by 106 per cent which is well ahead of the 50 per cent increase in computer and accessories sales and 34 per cent increase in health and wellness category.
Also expecting a growth in fashion sales is Klarna, an online shopping app, whose most recent demographic data shows that from May 3 through May 9, Gen Z and millennial app users increased their share of spending on apparel, footwear and accessories for the fourth week in a row. With more states and municipalities lifting stay-at-home orders, the retailer’s app-enabled sales at stores selling women’s accessories grew by 12 percent week over week in the week ended May 9, suggesting a revival of female shoppers.