The pandemic has caused consumers to drastically change their behavior and consumption pattern in the last one year. The footwear industry was no exception, and it was adversely affected, which led to the halting of its growth. However, the silver lining in this whole episode was the boom in online shopping. This new age purchasing pattern emerged more as a necessity than a hobby as people were forced to live under restrictions and long lockdowns. The mounting crisis of the coronavirus pandemic challenged the footwear industry to bear the burden of higher return rates and constant cancellations. People were unable to purchase anything online because they faced problems related to fitting and comfort.
Consequently, footwear brands came up with virtual solutions that allowed their buyers to try out the product and see how it fits them from the comfort of their homes. Likewise, our custom shoe designs, a customization solution, has a built-in digital feature enabling your customers to design and experiment with their looks and styles. They can preview the designed product through 3d technology and check whether it fits them perfectly or not while sipping coffee in their couches.
Custom Design Shoes Provide Robust Solutions to Brands for Leveraging Virtual Retail
The wholesale athletic footwear market sales in the US grew steadily from 2008-19, registering growth every year for a total 40 per cent rise over that timeframe. Imported pairs of shoes per capita increased 6 per cent from 2012 to 2019. However, the situation transformed with the pandemic’s outbreak and suddenly changed the trajectory in the past year. The second quarter in 2020 was impacted majorly. According to some researchers who surveyed the top 13 public footwear companies in the US, their revenue was down by 31 per cent, while gross margins fell by 710 points. However, there was a material recovery at the back end of last year—full-year 2020 revenue declines were 4.5 per cent, gross profit fell 9.5 per cent, and gross margin declined 220 basis points. The outsized impact of reduced brick-and-mortar sales was one of the major reasons behind the decline, as buyers were unable to feel and touch the product they wanted to purchase.
Additionally, buyers were who were into purchasing products shifted their majority of shopping through online marketplaces. It has been reported that online shoe sales grew 10 per cent in 2020, with online penetration of sales of fashion shoes rising by12 per cent. Retailers with established omnichannel infrastructure hurriedly moved operations and inventory online at the outset of the pandemic, committing to new costs that in many cases also included expensive partnerships with delivery and returns providers.
Witnessing many hurdles in the way, footwear brands and retailers thought of implementing a range of solutions that allow them to boost their sales under any circumstances. The embracement of virtual solutions in physical stores was hailed as a panacea by many people. This phenomenon worked especially well in China compared to the West, where brands combined their endorsements with eCommerce conveniences. However, in this new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, brands are still waiting for prospective viewers to have the same enthusiasm, and momentum has slowed.
According to experts in Mckinsey. live streaming commerce was a big deal a year ago, but in terms of the number of interactions, they’ve declined. According to the company, not many buyers regularly sign up for live stream shopping events. It is believed that viewership hasn’t accelerated as quickly as predicted, and many experts conclude that live stream will be, at most, 2 per cent of digital commerce globally this year, including China. As the pandemic subsides and consumers return to live events and in-store shopping, it’s reasonable to assume that the hype will taper off. However, it would be unfair to rebuke the use of live streaming as it is one of those long-term trends that was greatly accelerated during the pandemic. And this is no new trend for fashion-tech companies as this is the common trajectory for them, people are excited early, but after some time, they are disappointed by the same technology. But brands must not get disheartened by the trend as it takes a long time to reach the masses. Many analysts and investors believe that footwear companies should have an overall positive outlook for the long term, and they should compare their solutions with the long-winded adoption of technologies, such as Facebook advertising or QR codes.
Amid the pandemic, retailers including Moda Operandi, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Farfetch partnered with video commerce platforms that enabled one-to-many broadcasts. They are considered to be the year’s biggest eCommerce investments as they move to video shopping. Last month, Whatnot raised $150 million at a $1.5 billion valuation; and Ntwrk received $50 million from Kering and Goldman Sachs. Klarna bought Hero for an estimated $160 million in July, while Popshop Live raised $20 million. Meanwhile, big tech players, including Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Amazon, are investing in video commerce. While working with Ntrwk, Kering will be able to inform how the format is executed for luxury brands. Though many stakeholders believe that a successful luxury approach exists in the West, they must work towards it. The young consumers can already find product inspiration on platforms like YouTube and Tik Tok, and the relatively high penetration of e-commerce for luxury in the US and Europe, compared to China, means that it could catch up. Though video shopping is in its infancy stage, it has the potential to engage and create emotion around fashion and luxury brands, and if it is done in the right way, it could be meaningful.
From the cases mentioned above, it is evident that digital solutions are here to stay for a long time, and it is advisable for brands who have been reluctant to incorporate these changes. It is high time that they stream through these changes and transform their bottom line. We have brought together various factors that will inspire brands who have refrained from adopting novel business solutions in the current post.
Here are numerous elements that accelerate the use of digital solutions in the business model for footwear brands and retailers:
Omnichannel Intensifies Competition in the Footwear Market
Omnichannel has been the buzzword for quite some time now; it means that consumers are going to combine store visits and online interactions during the shopping journey. Now to capitalize on this trend, brands are leaving no stone unturned as they mark their presence across various platforms online and offline to gain more traction and more revenue. While multi-channel is growing its significance, a study has revealed that83 per cent of shopping journeys still happen within a single channel — overwhelmingly in traditional stores, which account for almost 80 per cent of fashion purchases today. As a result, certain brands, such as Balenciaga to JW Anderson, are quickening the pace at which they remove and add content from their social media feeds. Balenciaga first wiped its Instagram grid clean in June, ahead of unveiling its first haute couture collection in 53 years, and has since continued to clean its Instagram feed regularly. Its current feed features just 64 images from the Spring/Summer 2022 collection. JW Anderson has a mere 35 posts on Instagram featuring seasonal products such as the new Bumper bag. Nicolas Ghesquiere wiped his Instagram feed for his 921,000 followers ahead of Louis Vuitton’s spring-summer show: a video of the womenswear collection remains the only post. Meanwhile, some fashion influencers are also curating their feeds: leading creators are often opting to remove sponsored posts after some time, say marketing agencies — unless brands are willing to pay more.
One way to deal with this problem is to intensify the other marketing channel strategy, including offline stores. Footwear companies and independent retailers must continue to focus on making their brick-and-mortar stores and online stores attractive to visit. They should be aesthetically so pleasing that they become more effective contributors to brands’ financial results. Also, brands must really know their customer, and it is one of the key areas that brands need to master.
Online sites have a wealth of data on shoppers ranging from their tastes, as indicated by previous purchases, to demographic information and preferences. In a store, however, a sales associate tries to guess a shopper’s tastes in real-time. As a solution, technology could be used to customize the in-store experience by encouraging customers to swipe their smartphones as they enter so that their profile could then be used to tailor the experience and offers. For example, stores should also make shopping memorable — through drinks and other hospitality services and encourage customers to complete their transactions online. The customized shoes online work on a similar concept as it allows buyers to seamless design their funky pair of sneakers, shoes, or any other kind of footwear for every occasion. Once it is installed on the company’s website, using its digital technology, your buyers can easily customize their footwear from your e-catalogue. It offers an easy-to-use interface and enables buyers to personalize their fashion product in just a few clicks.
Entice Customers with Frequent Addition to Online Shopping Features
Shopping journeys that conclude with online purchases are likely to increase the revenue by 25 per cent for the company on an average, compared to when someone visits a physical store and then purchases online, the effect is even more pronounced. The revenue increases by 64 per cent. This is the primary reason why many fashion brands and retailers often offer free shipping with a minimum basket size. These free shipping business strategies compel customers to select extra items to reach this threshold. Another is the greater product range available online without the need to carry inventory in a prime-location store.
Moreover, it is relatively easy to create impulse purchases online from information gathered about the shopper and to incentivize larger basket sizes. To benefit, retailers with physical stores should make a concerted effort to drive in-store customers to their website to make their purchases. For instance,Bonobos, a leading name in the fashion eCommerce industry, encourages shoppers to experience a product in its “no-inventory” stores and complete the order online.
Likewise, many brands rely on other strategies to boost their online economy; one of them is one-to-to virtual shopping appointments. Researches have revealed that several fashion houses have found success in these kinds of business approaches, especially with remote customers. In the US, live shopping is expected to reach $11 billion this year, up from $6 billion in 2020, according to management consulting firmActivate’s Technology Media Outlook 2022. Indeed, live shopping sales are growing from a very small base, but it can’t be denied that these don’t have a future. Installing a hybrid solution is the only way forward for companies.
Online Shopping is Crucial for Brands
Displaying collections on a virtual platform is any day fun and interesting; it makes shopping speedy, especially with clicks sound. Nonetheless, you will be surprised by the fact that shoppers take more time online than when shopping in physical stores, and they make more stops. In fact, 57 per cent of shopping journeys that conclude with an online purchase begin with a consumer either first looking at another website, visiting a brick-and-mortar store, or both before ultimately transacting online, constituting for 29 per cent, 15 per cent, and 13 per cent, respectively before through any particular retailer. The other 43 per cent of journeys that conclude with an online purchase are one-stop journeys that begin and end with the same online retailer.
These facts indicate that online shoppers are doing a lot of comparisons, so online retailers should work harder to close sales quickly while they have the consumer’s attention. They can do this by actively sending cart recovery messages or creating loyalty programs for a particular site. Removing hassles could help: More than 10 per cent of consumers indicated that they had abandoned a cart on a website and then bought the items elsewhere simply because they didn’t like the first site’s shipping or return policy. Additionally, they can learn from leading companies, such as Neiman Marcus and Moda Operandi, who described their video commerce technology as successful last year and something that the companies planned to continue. But since then, retailers have gone relatively quiet on what’s next for these initiatives. Moda Operandi shared that it is continuing to integrate Livestream shopping and shoppable video capabilities; one pre-recorded video with Paco Rabanne creative director Julien Dossena resulted in a 66 per cent increase in sales, according to the company.
In a nutshell, the demand for footwear will always be there, but the way people shop will keep evolving, and brands must make the business models so flexible that they can mould them as per the requirements. The custom-made shoes online by iDesigniBuy offers relevant and robust business solutions to footwear brands and retailers that allow them to continue to business with a better understanding of the market. It offers novel technologies to the footwear industry so that the companies working under the segment can equip themselves better with digital solutions and thrive in the market.