January 07, 2022
6 min read

The Future of Apparel Stores Relies on Technology Innovation

At the height of the pandemic – from March 2020 to March 2021 – when dressing rooms were closed and customers turned to online shopping or curbside, 42.4% of U.S. consumers returned unwanted products. And a majority of those products were clothing. With in-store shopping altered, the apparel industry faced a setback as many shoppers were unable to touch, feel and try on clothes before purchasing them.

By 2026, an estimated 80,000 retail stores are expected to close. But this isn't a signal to close up shop just yet, or that apparel stores are a thing of the past. Customers simply expect retailers to make the in-store experience more convenient and memorable. The future of apparel relies on technology innovation, and GK is taking steps to further enrich this innovation with its partners ecosystem, as evidenced by our recent announcement with MySize.

Heightened in-store shopping experiences 

Experiential retail has become a popular way for brands to create memorable engagement in physical stores. Pop-up stores are often a low-risk way to test out new markets or products, while offering shoppers a new way to interact with a brand outside of the online shop.

A heightened focus on service and partnerships with other brands has also taken shape. Earlier this year, Indochino, a brick-and-mortar custom apparel retailer, also opened doors within Nordstrom. Retail Dive notes that, "as a retailer that prides itself on service, the Indochino partnership makes sense for Nordstrom, as it is a highly service-oriented model."

Technology paired with customer service    

An added benefit of in-store shopping is the interaction with associates and the increased customer service levels they provide. These types of one-on-one interactions can foster a personalized shopping experience as the associate assists with each shopper's unique needs.

What's more, pairing technology innovation with customer service can lead to an even greater experiential shopping journey. For example, our partner MySize is a measurements technology company that captures and calculates a shopper's clothing size with just a mobile device.

Earlier this year, we partnered with MySize to offer consumer size information in store, for the first time, establishing a quick and simple way to improve the customer experience. With measurement accuracy, associates can better assist shoppers and suggest clothing that will fit them. As a result, shoppers can spend more time browsing for additional items instead of feeling frustrated in the dressing room with items that don't fit. This can increase satisfaction, basket size and loyalty, for if a shopper has a quick and easy experience trying on clothes, they'll remember the brand the next time they need to go shopping.

Accurate sizing technology can also help retailers reduce the number of returns. As well, having insights into sizing information can help maintain an accurate inventory that is reflective of their customer needs, reducing out of stocks.  

Open commerce platforms are key to innovation 

For retailers considering adding new technology features to their existing stack, choosing a partner can be daunting. An open commerce platform – such as our very own CLOUD4RETAIL – can seamlessly integrate with additional third-party vendors as a company grows and scales. What's more, open platforms can integrate unified commerce environments from in-store and online touchpoints to mobile devices.

According to Ronen Luzon, CEO of MySize, "The partnership with GK allows us to offer consumer size information to staff and consumers at the store, for the first time. The simple tooling provided by GK made this integration possible with very low effort and we are already looking at further implementations together across all segments."

Read more about our partnership with MySize.