Although Amazon Prime membership in the US grew by 50 percent last year, there is still a need to try things on (TOUCH & FEEL) and clothing is the obvious product. I’m sure that most of us are fine with buying a crock pot based on pictures and reviews, a dress shirt and pants are another issue. Imagine a clothing store that has one of everything in every size, but no inventory to walk out with. All shirts and pants are pressed and ready to try on allowing you to see exactly what that shirt really looks like (not the shirt that has all those wrinkles from being folded, pinned, plastic collar stays, etc.). While the store does not have any inventory for you to walk out with, it does however have a smartphone app, or an iPad mini the store assistant uses to help you make choices. When you are done finding what meets your fancy, the purchase process is just like amazon, you make the payment at the checkout counter (or on your phone) and by the time you drive home you get an email informing you that your items are being shipped. Within 2 days your purchases they arrive via UPS. If you change your mind, you can drop the items back at the store or have UPS pick them up.
The reduction in inventory and floor space saved at each store would reduce it’s operating costs, allow each store to offer more items to customer, and guarantee that they have the size that fits you. These stores are coined “touchy-feely” stores by my spouse Alicia. We both believe this is the future of clothing shopping. Are you listening JCP with your failed efforts by former CEO Ron Johnson and financial failure? Sears is in the same financial sinking boat, just look at these images at Business Insider showing what’s happening using their 20th century mentality? Even Aeropostale is closing stores.
In order to make it financially in the 21st century these stores need adapt to the new market place where customers don’t want to hear “we are out of your size, but I can check another store”. Who wants to drive across town for one shirt? The last time I went into Dick’s sporting goods to buy a pair of shoes, they didn’t have my size. I liked what they looked like, so I went home and bought them on Amazon.com (Dick’s online didn’t even have my size!).
One of everything in every size ready to try on in the “touch-feely” stores. More options, more choices, zero inventory in the back room. Purchases are done online and shipped to you.
JCP/Sears/etc still can’t wrap your head around the customer walking out of the store with nothing in hand? Send them a customized web link with all the things they purchased on beautiful models with the ability to share these images on Facebook and Twitter. Trust me, the young women of today will go wild over it. Welcome to the 21st century, now pay me the 1.5 million you paid Ron Johnson.