Exactly what a “size six” is can be a mystery to your customers. Sizes are defined differently from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even from year to year. Some designers may change sizes for strategic reasons. For example, a decade ago a garment would have been labeled a size 16, but it’s a size 12 today in an attempt to appeal to a woman’s vanity. Other designers have recently made clothing smaller — surprising girls who wore a size four on their last shopping trip, but now can’t squeeze into a dress in that size. As a fashion retailer, this presents a significant challenge. How do you meet customer demands, minimize returns and make customers happy if clothes don’t fit?
Your retail point-of-sale (POS) system provides you with the tools to overcome this challenge and to help customers find the right fit by addressing these three areas:
It’s unrealistic to try to keep every garment, in the right size and color, in stock at all times. However, you can still deliver what customers want. Your POS system can allow you to track inventory. With the right system, you can manage and search inventory across all store locations and channels. When a consumer tries on a garment but needs a different size, your sales associates can search your inventory to find the right item and have it shipped to the customer or to your store. With mobile point of sale (mPOS), your sales associates can achieve this without walking to a terminal. They can access this information from a tablet or other mobile device while assisting the shopper in the fitting room.
Your POS system can also provide sales associates with product information — e.g., the body measurements a particular manufacturer considers a size six. Sales associates can also share information on how sizes in a line have changed from a previous season by accessing it on their mobile devices.
Seamless BOPIS Programs
Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) is an increasingly popular option with consumers. They may want to browse your selection online before coming to the store to pick it up — making fit an important parameter.
POS software for apparel stores that have inventory management and e-commerce integrations enable them to provide size information along with availability of items. Some retailers even include customer reviews that include information on fit (e.g., “tighter than normal,” “loose fit,” “fits the way I expected.”)
Another option is to offer “buy online, collect in-store,” which allows customers to reserve the item until they arrive within a specified time, so they can try it on before finalizing the purchase.
Whether buying or reserving, your POS system gives you the tools to make sure the item is ready for the customer as expected.
Access to Customer Data
Your POS system also gives sales associates the ability to access customer data, which they can use to engage customers and help them build relationships. One way is to help customers find the sizes that fit them. Guided by what customers purchased in the past, your sales associates can help point customers in the right direction, particularly if the customer is interested in a line in which the sizes have changed.
Size can be a delicate subject with customers. Your POS system can provide sales associates with information that will help them assist customers as they search for the right fit, locate the right items in your inventory, and provide information that can explain changes and help customers feel good about their purchases — delighting shoppers and creating great customer experiences.
Paula Da Silva is the senior vice president of sales for CitiXsys, a provider of retail consulting, retail management software and point-of-sale systems.
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