Today’s connected consumers expect instant access to product information and have grown accustomed to highly personalized customer service in the online shopping realm. Yet they also love to shop in stores. Accenture's retail study found that 68 percent of Millennials want a seamless, integrated experience across channels, and 82 percent prefer shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
To meet these shoppers’ expectations, retailers are ramping up smart stores. These stores of the future are equipped with Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, including RFID, beacons, heat-sensing scanners, magic mirrors and more. These tools are continually communicating with IoT-enabled software, which converts incoming data into actionable intelligence. Connected PLM is one of these IoT-enabled software platforms. It also is a means to control the complex value chains behind most fashion, apparel and consumer products.
In previous posts, we discussed how connected PLM applies to the plan-and-create and source-and-produce lifecycle stages. See “Connected PLM: 7 Ways to Plan and Create” and “Connected PLM: 3 Steps to Link Up Your Supply Chain.” Now we explore how connected PLM can be used to sell products and engage with consumers. Here are five tips:
1. Start by feeding historical sales information from in-store POS systems into the PLM platform. Analyze what has sold, what assortments worked and which were over-developed. Systematically enable the past to help inform current and future plans.
2. Leverage real-time insights from connected stores. What do the sensors say about what displays are attracting the most traffic? Which styles are being tried on most frequently? Which are being tried on and purchased vs. put back on the rack? Through connected PLM, answers to these questions and many more feed instantaneously to upstream teams of designers, technical designers, merchandisers and planners, informing the next wave of styles, fit specifications and assortments.
3. Offer shoppers more personalized customer service in the store. Through automated outreach to the shopper’s mobile phone, the smart store recognizes and welcomes return shoppers who have opted into loyalty programs. Sales associates, armed with insights about shoppers’ preferences and past purchases, can suggest new styles and offer personalized promotions. Beacons automatically alert consumers about special offers on merchandise they are standing near. The customer can use his or her smart phone to scan a product hangtag’s QR code to call up rich product information, such as sustainable sourcing details, videos about how to wear different pieces and availability of different sizes and colors.
4. Engage the consumer with augmented reality (AR). Use smart mirrors to test styles and concepts with consumers before physical garments are made. With AR, designs from the PLM solution can be “fitted” to the individual consumer’s body in the mirror. Shoppers can experiment with many different looks, selecting different colors and mixing and matching various pieces. Retailers get a wealth of feedback on consumer preferences, and shoppers enjoy sneak peeks (and special deals) on potential new styles.
5. Use connected PLM and IoT to see from the store into the supply chain. The smart store is not just running on insights from inside its four walls. Its systems are able to track inventory from the factory to the warehouse to the store — drawing on IoT technologies implanted throughout the value chain. This extended visibility helps store associates connect consumers with an endless aisle of products. It also enables retail operations and sourcing teams to respond with greater agility to fashion trends.
Read Part 3 of the Connected PLM Series HERE and learn how you can leverage connected PLM to develop truly trend-driven fashion.
Are your stores fully engaging the connected consumer? Contact PTC today to open your store of the future with connected PLM.