With the rapid growth of technology, customer trends are changing faster than ever. Thankfully, these changes have come at the same time as huge advances in enterprise resource planning software and analytical tools. Showrooming, webrooming and the widespread adoption of smartphones are changing the way customers interact with retailers. With a little work, you can use your planning tools to stay ahead of the trends and keep your customers coming back.

Retail Trends

1.) Showrooming. Showrooming is when customers go to brick and mortar stores to research purchases, try on clothes, and select exactly what they want, then head home and buy it online. Because of the lower prices and wider variety of options available online, showrooming has become extremely popular, and it’s no surprise. Who wants to spend more money when they don’t have to?

This trend can mean big trouble, especially for stores in the garment and technology industries – the constant stream of customers who waste your sales team’s time with endless questions and never make a purchase can be infuriating. Slowing down customer showrooming is difficult, but a well-deployed enterprise resource planning system will help. Many enterprise resource planning systems track store traffic to help you determine if your customers are looking and not buying. Some retailers have had success fighting the showrooming trend by offering in-store-only merchandise and providing abundant information about in-store items.

2.) Webrooming. Webrooming is the opposite of showrooming, and it’s a trend that many brick and mortar retailers are working hard to promote. Webroomers research their purchases online, find exactly what they want, and then head out to a local retailer to buy it. Webrooming seems to be most popular with consumers who are under 50: according to a recent Merchant Warehouse study, 69% of people ages 18-36 and 71% of people ages 37-48 with smartphones have webroomed.

Some retailers have taken advantage of this trend by creating smartphone apps that allow consumers to research at home and choose exactly what they want before heading to the store. They then keep those purchases in-store by price matching online deals. Many enterprise resource planning systems allow retailers to integrate data from their smartphone apps to see who’s coming in to their stores after webrooming and reward those customers for staying within their retail ecosystem.

3.) The Smartphone Revolution. The widespread adoption of smartphones has changed the retail landscape forever. Two thirds of Americans own smartphones, and these customers can come in to your store and look up any item with a UPC to price check, compare competing products, and often find more options than you may have in store. Retailers have generally responded to this new reality in one of two ways: either they slash prices in an attempt to compete with low-price online retailers, or they leverage smartphone technology and their enterprise resource planning systems to enhance customer experience and satisfaction to keep people in the store. While slashing prices can keep people in your store, it’s an endless race to the bottom – online retailers with minimal overhead will always find a way to keep undercutting prices.

If you think your enterprise resource planning software is holding you back from engaging with these new customer trends, Apparel Business Systems can help! Our enterprise resource planning tools are purpose-driven to help you get the most out of your apparel business. Contact us today for more information.