Let’s be honest. COVID-19 changed the ways workers shop for uniforms. They’re avoiding the stores, skipping the drives, and shopping online instead. While other traditional uniform businesses struggle to get customers inside, those who turned to the world of eCommerce have seen massive increases in sales and uniform product turnove
Aside from a global pandemic, this rise in uniform eCommerce is also attributed to the fact that there are simply more workplace apparel options to select from online. Businesses can provide broader catalogs, and offer digital customization and embroidery tools. Plus, it helps customers avoid the pitfalls of being exposed to a deadly virus.
And by the looks of it, 2021 will be no different. To prepare uniform providers and help them cash in on the rise of eCommerce, follow our top 8 uniform eCommerce trends.
As opportunities become fewer and fewer to interact with customers in person, you need to provide the best virtual customer experience possible to make up for the engagement deficit. Look for ways to improve and streamline the online customer experience by enhancing your site with a live chat function or post-purchase surveys.
Since more and more businesses are going online, you will find yourself with new competition in your field. The uniform market is becoming saturated, which is forcing businesses to find new ways to differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd. Start offering new online services like uniform personalization or embroidery or new Size Fit solutions – anything to help you stand out from the crowd and stay ahead of the technological curve.
With the rise in eCommerce comes the acceleration of online product ordering. Overwhelmed with uniform orders, retailers opt to fulfill eCommerce orders from within their own stores. Software innovations like Dropship Integration and Brand Syndication mean that you can fulfill orders electronically and send them to be filled directly by the manufacturers. That means you can offer a wider range of uniforms products online – even stuff that you don’t necessarily offer in your own store. And it can be done automatically, too.
Most uniform providers who’re going online are still running inventory reports manually when it’s completely unnecessary. If you’re going to become a leader in online uniform provision, then it’s time to do away with manual reporting. Real-time inventory syncs and system integrations are key to executing an omnichannel strategy. Start analyzing the performance of your store(s) to reveal customer and product trends of your own. Plus, the right real-time reporting software can put all of your marketing and sales data in one place, so you can know the impact on sales revenues and marketing campaigns, ROI, and more.
If you’re still manually fulfilling orders, then you’re still subjecting yourself and your business to repeated order errors, higher return rates, etc. Instead, automate fulfillment. I know. It sounds scary, but the right eCommerce software can help you automate the ordering process – which reduces order errors and return rates substantially. It doesn’t have to replace your workforce and it shouldn’t, but it can help you scale up your eCommerce platform and provide a red-carpet uniform buying experience for your customers.
Want to stay ahead of other uniform providers? Offer your customer’s employees more autonomy over their uniform selections. Control their view of products, so they only see products relevant to them. Create specific store experiences for select customer groups to provide truly unique shopping experiences that are unlike anything they’ve experienced before. This will make your clientele feel special and they’ll remember you were the ones who provided it.
Give your customer’s employees more options when it comes to payment and shipping methods. Don’t just settle for allowing credit card payments. Offer employee allowance programs. Offer new ways of shipping their items, too. The possibilities are endless. The more options you provide, the more clients you’ll attract because of your obvious dedication to providing the best and most comprehensive experience possible.
If you’re a retailer, subscribe to new manufacturer catalogs and start offering new products to your customers. If you’re a manufacturer, get your product catalogs exposed to new retailers. Members of the supply chain have to grow together if the uniform industry is going to continue to thrive in 2021 and beyond. Thankfully, emerging technology like Brand Syndication, retailers can access and subscribe to the catalogs of new uniform manufacturers at the click of a button and likewise, manufacturers can expose their catalogs to 1,000’s of retailers all at once.
Now that you understand the changes you need to implement to your online uniform stores in 2021, what’re you waiting for? Get in touch with us to give your eCommerce platform the much-needed boost and uniform industry-specific touch.