Why Brick & Mortar Clothing Retailers Don’t Need To Fear Online Competition

Why Brick & Mortar Clothing Retailers Don’t Need To Fear Online Competition

Why Brick & Mortar Clothing Retailers Don’t Need To Fear Online Competition

There are many dogmas and myths surrounding clothing retail, like the claim that young people do nearly all their shopping online. But is that really true?

Is Brick-and-mortar Clothing Retail Dying Out?

While there’s no easy answer, it’s a question that no retailer can afford to ignore. It’s the only way to meet – and profit from – the challenges of the future. So is brick-and-mortar clothing retail really dying out? Far from it!

What the Data Says: Retail Stores are the No. 1 Sources of Information

Many clothing retailers think that potential customers use their stores to get informed about products but leave to do their actual purchasing online. And there’s certainly some truth in that perception. The question we need to ask, though, is why shoppers leave.

A study conducted by KMPG AG in cooperation with the EMI Retail Institute clearly shows that the three most important sources of information that precede a clothing purchase are identical across age groups. They are:

  • Browsing in a store (61%)
  • Personal recommendation (39%)
  • In-store advice (33%)

Particularly for younger shoppers, the opinions of others are important criteria for their purchase decisions – that includes recommendations from friends as well as in-store advice.

Source: KPMG

Increase Revenue Instead of Delivering Customers to Online Retailers

Considering the market research cited above, we have to ask: why do many brick & mortar retailers miss opportunities to grow their revenues, especially considering that potential customers are already in their stores?

Customers want to see and touch products before buying them. That’s one reason why many of them (still) prefer traditional retail. But potential customers also often complain about sales staff who don’t really know what it is they’re selling. Poor service and sales advice thus detracts from a positive customer experience – and from revenue.

Improve Sales Advice and Service Quality – But How?

Many clothing retailers may not be surprised by this conclusion – and yet far too often we encounter unmotivated sales staff who offer shoppers anything but an inspiring shopping experience.

Owners and managers of smaller stores in particular face the challenge of instilling their high standards for sales and service in their employees. It’s no easy task if you consider that training measures are often expensive, to say nothing of issues like lack of time or high turnover.

E-learning courses focused on service and sales offer an ideal solution to this problem. Employees can improve their service and sales competences in a targeted manner thanks to a web-based app. Typical sales strategies as well as service-oriented behavior are taught in interactive, realistic roleplaying exercises. A virtual coach is always on hand to provide tips and encouragement. Progress is documented and success rewarded, motivating employees to continue.

Fig.: Example of a sales dialog training

Even better, e-learning solutions can be tailored to a wide variety of requirements and parameters, like the size of the company or the number of employees. While customized training solutions are often excellent investments that pay dividends, smaller retailers report achieving good results with affordable standard versions that are up and running in just a few clicks.


For clothing retailers, web-based e-learning solutions offer a real alternative to costly and inconvenient onsite training programs. The key to optimal results: the training solutions must place a clear emphasis on service and sales. Furthermore, if the solution is also tailored to the respective company, employees’ service and sales competences can be quickly, comprehensively and cost-effectively trained.

Cover photo: © Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock.com

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