What The 7 Top Apparel Retailers Are Doing Right

Are you a retailer who is struggling to maintain a profit? Did you know spending in the retail apparel industry has increased the last 3 years? Let’s take a look at your competition and see how they are doing it!

The Growing Economy

However, the retail apparel market has been steadily growing in recent years. According to a recent study from Statista, this category is experiencing consistent growth:

  • 2012: 2.9% global increase.
  • 2013: 3.4% global increase.
  • 2014: 4.1% global increase.

Projections for 2015 and 2016 also promise improvement, rising to an estimated 4.2%. Apparel defies the economic trends, and this makes it an essential source of study for those retailers wishing to improve their sales.

The Seven Top Apparel Retailers

Redefining tactics is always a challenge. However, it’s less of one after conducting a thorough examination of the competition. Let’s compare these seven high-performing brands (as provided by the National Retail Federation):

TJ Maxx

Total USA Sales: $20,923,000

Number of Stores: 1,996

H&MTop Apparel Retailer H&M

Total USA Sales: $2,166,000

Number of Stores: 305

Burlington Coat Factory

Total USA Sales: $4,402,000

Number of Stores: 509

The Men’s Warehouse

Total USA Sales: $1,935,000

Number of Stores: 1,003

American Eagle Outfitters/Aerie

Total USA Sales: $2,955,000

Number of Stores: 843

Express

Total USA Sales: $2,219,000

Number of Stores: 621

Gap

Total USA Sales: $12,872,000

Number of Stores: 2,432

Each of these companies experienced strong sales during 2014, and predictions remain positive for this upcoming year. Why do they succeed when so many others fail? They provide key impact factors!

Impacting Factors

To ensure success – both for the present and the future – the Sensational Seven embrace multi-faceted strategies. These strategies include:

Fast Fashion Operations

Fast fashion expedites the retail process, quickly transitioning styles from the runway to the fitting room. Companies like H&M utilize this idea to create consistent interest in their inventories and their brand. It promotes a more dynamic retail environment.

Steady Expansion

Building both a brick-and-mortar presence and high social authority is essential for sales. Steady expansions (with stores added in prime locations and online inventories perpetually stocked) deliver rewards, and companies like Express have been carefully choosing their lots for the last few years.

top apparal retailers build a strong physical and social presence

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Buyer Persona Training

Exceptional buyer persona training, with sales teams educated in specific demographics, spend patterns, and seasonal needs ensure quality results. Top companies like American Eagle Outfitters study their consumers with care, generating answers to questions not yet even asked and preparing for every eventuality. They develop method books, marketing guidelines, and more to improve their interactions.

Designer Allies

Designer labels once dominated haute couture houses and exclusive boutiques. Now, brick and mortar retail companies strike deals with fashion’s biggest names, snatching exclusive rights to the latest looks. Consider H&M’s latest collaborations:

  • 2010: Sonia Rykiel
  • 2011 Versace
  • 2012: Marni
  • 2013: Isabel Marant
  • 2014: Alexander Wang

Designer recognition ensures consumer interest.

Fitting Room Experience

Fitting rooms play pivotal roles in overall sales and customer satisfaction. According to Bob Phibbs, founder of the Retail Doctor:

  • Shoppers who use fitting rooms are 70% more likely to purchase items than those who don’t.
  • Shoppers who are well assisted by sales staffers while using fitting rooms are nearly twice as likely to make a purchase as those who aren’t.

These numbers showcase a direct correlation between dressing rooms and profits. This is why companies utilize multiple formats (such as beacon technology and social media notifications) to take advantage of them. According to the Washington Post, American Eagle Outfitters experienced a 50% increase in their customer responses by emphasizing these options.

Through these impacting factors, the Sensational Seven dominates the competition.

Court the Millennials

Combining designer labels with fast fashion philosophies isn’t enough to succeed in retail. Companies must instead appeal to the most important demographic – the Millennials. According to a recent study by Accenture:

  • Millennials generate approximately $600 billion in the United States alone.
  • Millennial spending in the U.S. by 2020 is currently estimated to reach $1.4 trillion, delivering over 30% of the total market share.

Courting this demographic is critical for any company. Follow the examples of TJ Maxx, Gap, and Express: re-tailor tactics.

Conclusion

The Sensational Seven inspires with their strong sales. Follow this trend by:

  • Employing fast fashion techniques.
  • Expanding into relevant areas.
  • Mastering buyer personas.
  • Creating alliances with top designers.
  • Improving the dressing room experience.
  • Embracing the Millennials.

Combine these elements for long-lasting success and improved quarters.

Have other suggestions for retailers in need? Share it with Alert Tech! Let us know how your company competes in an ever-evolving market.

Want more information on how to improve the fitting room experience? Fit Happens illuminates the most important square footage in the store, and provides practical solutions that will transform every fitting room into the most productive square footage of every retail store. Download it below now.

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