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Knowing what your customers want

Are you keeping up with your customers?

Fashion-hungry shoppers are placing a premium on convenience – and if you don’t deliver you could be losing out to someone who does.

There’s a lot more to a successful clothing business than having the right fashion in stock. Shoppers are demanding an experience that not only delivers on style but does it in a way that cuts out the hassle.

It’s one of the reasons that online shopping has revolutionised the sector and new Barclaycard research indicates some of the reasons behind its continued success.

Looking at the 25-34 age group, a third of those buying online more often than a year ago say they are doing so because the product selection is better, while a quarter say it’s because retailers are offering improved delivery options.

But almost half of all consumers say that a quick online checkout would encourage them to choose one retailer over another – a clear tip for gaining an edge over your competitors.

“The biggest thing for a clothing retailer is to understand the kind of experience they should be creating,” says Shay Doran, Corporate Customer Solutions, Barclaycard. “It should be based on how their customers want to interact with them, and for many, that’s about speed and convenience.”


Use mobile to stay close to your consumers

A third of those buying online more often say it is because shopping on the high street is too time consuming. People want their shopping to fit around their lifestyles, and with the number of smartphone owners rapidly increasing (71% of UK adults in Q1 2016, compared to 66% a year earlier1) it’s not surprising that mobile shopping continues to surge.


Figures from IMRG show that more than half of all UK online retail sales are made via mobile devices, and two-thirds of all visits to retail websites are via mobile2. In addition our research also shows that in the last 12 months, a quarter of 25-34 year-olds are using their smartphones to shop more regularly.

This shows how important it could be to have a strong presence on mobile. That’s where customers are, so if you’re not engaging with them on mobile – with an optimised design that makes it easy for them – you could be missing out on sales.

“It’s more essential than ever for retailers to make sure they have a mobile first strategy that is fit for purpose,” says Sharon Manikon, Customer Solutions Director, Barclaycard.

“Consumers’ attention spans are very limited, so mobile sites need to be quick and easy to navigate. For payments you need the minimum number of clicks from adding goods to the shopping cart to paying, otherwise those consumers could soon go elsewhere.”


Give in-store sales a speedy boost

It’s not just online where a quick, convenient checkout experience can play a vital role. It could play a part in your in-store thinking too.


Half of shoppers still say they prefer to buy their clothes in-store, yet two in five of them say they would do so more frequently if checkout queues were shorter.

More worrying though is that almost a third of shoppers have abandoned a purchase because of long queues in the last 12 months.

“The ability to clear queues quickly is essential if your customer experience is going to be up to scratch,” says Sharon, who adds that contactless payments and mobile checkouts are both good queue-busting measures.

“In a crowded marketplace, it’s the experience you provide that can help you to maximise sales and stand out from the crowd.”


What’s coming next for clothing retailers?

Our research shows that those retailers who are able to use digital technology most effectively could be the ones that gain the most traction with customers.

For example, a third of consumers say that touch-screen mirrors that show similar items to those that they’ve tried on would encourage them to choose one retailer over another.

And by 2020, a third of people expect to be able to use accurate body measurements online to try things on digitally, while a quarter expect to be able to take a photo via a retailer’s app and have it display similar products that it has available.

“There’s been a real blurring of the boundaries between the online and the physical experiences and that’s something we expect to continue,” says Shay.

Consumers also expect retailers to put payments at the heart of more seamless experiences. By 2020, a quarter expect to be able to use an app to scan and buy clothing in-store with their phone and have the payment taken automatically.

“Customer experience is critical, and payments have a huge role to play in creating that experience,” says Sharon. “We truly believe if you can make the payments aspect of your customer experience simple you could retain that business and grow your market share quickly.”

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Speak to our experts today

Confident your payment solutions can keep up with consumer demand? To find out how we can help, give us a call on 0800 096 8237*

Payments for fashion retailers



All other statistical information is derived from Barclaycard research conducted by Opinium, September 2016.
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