Fashion retail is changing. With the move to online shopping, customers expect a more personalised experience when they visit a store and that is why fashion retailers are looking at new ways to stand out. Appointment shopping is increasingly seen as a part of the customer journey, providing a more personal service for customers and allowing fashion retailers to provide a unique shopping experience in-store.
What is appointment shopping?
Appointment shopping allows customers to book an available time slot to shop in-store, with the personal attention of a shop assistant. These appointments are typically made through a booking system allowing better management of staff resources, and ensuring the customer gets an ideal experience.
Adding a booking system to an existing EPOS system does not have to be a costly or time-consuming process, and it can bring many benefits to fashion retailers, including increased footfall and spending, increased brand loyalty and better marketing opportunities. The real benefits of using booking systems to handle customer appointments however go beyond that; creating a unique experience for shoppers is now a must, with a more personal service becoming part of the expected customer journey.
In Shopify’s recent Future of Retail Report, they found that appointment shopping was becoming an expectation among Gen-Z shoppers. 23% of the respondents to their study used appointment booking in 2021 compared to 2020, with 34% of consumers stating they were likely to engage with appointment shopping in 2022.
Best ways for fashion retailers to differentiate
For many speciality fashion retailers, appointment shopping is already part of their offering. For example, in bridal shops, appointments are common and expected by the customer for dress fittings.
Many other retailers however can benefit from the customer-tailored experience of appointment shopping. For example, many children and parents can find shoe shopping to be an overwhelming experience. With babies and toddlers growing as much as two shoe sizes each year, regular fittings are required often, and making this a stress-free experience can transform how customers shop. Booking an appointment can allow families to skip the queue and come to the store at a time when it is less busy, providing a much better experience.
Leading shoe shops such as Clarks, M&S, Walsh Brothers and Vaughan’s Shoes now offer appointments for children’s shoe fittings as a part of their normal offering.
Creating a more personalised environment for shopping is especially important for shoppers with special needs. The National Disability Authority has released guidelines for making services more accessible. For shoppers who require special assistance, an ideal experience would be to book a time when a shop or boutique is quieter allowing them to benefit from one-to-one time with a shop assistant.
Offering more space at a quieter time can benefit children with autism who may not like large crowds, or provide a more accessible environment for customers with wheelchairs. For shoppers with cognitive or intellectual disabilities, having more time with a shop assistant can improve communications and their experience immensely.
What are the benefits of appointment booking for clothing stores and boutiques?
With a booking system linked to their EPOS and customer loyalty programs, retailers will see a range of benefits from appointment shopping. Alongside differentiating their offering from the competition, fashion retails can transform their entire customer journey.
Customers shopping online can be given a reason to visit the store, and customers short on time or just visiting the area can be targeted with marketing. Creating a more personalised experience will provide a better understanding of customers and show that their time and business is valued. These customers can also enjoy more one-to-one time with shop assistants, meaning your best products will be put front and centre. By appealing to high-intent shoppers with a more personalised experience, retailers can enjoy more conversions, increased revenue and more repeat visits from these customers.
Retailers can also transform their shop floor by integrating stock management and bookings, fashion retailers can keep less stock on the shelves and more in the store room. This provides more space on the shop floor to accommodate appointment booking and provides an even smoother shopping experience for customers. Build loyalty with improved service and highly tailored experiences such as consultations, personal shopping and styling, wedding dress and suit fittings, in-store events, etc.
Get more advice to grow your fashion retail business with Retail Integration
Retail Integration’s proprietary ticketing system, Meridian Experience will enable your fashion retail business to set up timed slots, manage capacity and offer ticketless bookings. With full membership and rewards programmes, detailed reporting and complete integration with your EPOS, Meridian Experience will allow your customers to book online, instore or wherever they are.
Create a seamless and unique shopping experience for your customers and increase revenue with Retail Integration.
To learn more about how Retail Integration can help transform your fashion retail business, speak to us today on +353 1 429 6800 or email email@example.com.