We’re women not smoothies – the problem with fashion retail personalisation

By Cristina Holm, co-founder HOLM

Retail personalisation technology is supposed to be the magic bullet for the problem of online fashion returns. But does asking shoppers to guess their own body shape provide accurate data or a good customer experience? […]

Nearly 22,000 retail jobs hit: is e-commerce completely to blame?

By Richard Burrell for HOLM

Retail news? Barely a week goes by without another chain parading its woes: announcing profit warnings, negotiations with creditors and store closures. BBC News today reported that 22,000 retail jobs are at risk in 2018 alone. The finger of blame is frequently pointed at the growth of e-commerce and Amazon in particular, but is it really that simple? After all, Amazon has been around since the mid 1990’s so it is hardly a new challenger.

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Five ways to make in-store technology a success

By Robin Phillips for HOLM

A previous HOLM blog post discussed the importance of empowering retail sales staff with technology to put them on an equal footing with today’s ‘mobile first’ consumer. Yet there remains a reluctance among retailers to roll out in-store technology. They have their e-commerce platform for that sort of stuff after all. Then there is the risk of getting it wrong – an expensive mistake for any ambitious retail director.

But the problem is that customers simply do not silo your retail business into ‘stores’ and ‘e-commerce’; they view you as a single brand and expect a seamless transition between their online and in-store activities. In-store technology is the only way to provide this true omnichannel experience. Here we share five ways to make your in-store tech a success: […]

This person could save your fashion chain. Why not let her?

By Cristina Holm, co-founder HOLM

Which fashion retail head office positions didn’t exist 30 years ago? Head of Multichannel; social media manager; customer experience analyst… to name but a few. Yet on the shop floor we still have ‘shop assistants’ and that’s pretty much it.

In this post I’m going talk about how the role of the shop floor workforce has evolved dramatically in the past three decades. Next I will share four simple changes fashion retailers can make to ensure today’s sales staff feel relevant, valued and productive. […]

How to solve a problem like a store portfolio – and it’s not closures

By Emma Vickers for HOLM

Closures and portfolio consolidation are sure bets in the game of fashion retail results bingo, right up there with unseasonable weather. While the e-commerce boom has admittedly left the sector with too much space on its hands, bricks and mortar has been unfairly dismissed as a dying channel. This has resulted in customers feeling short changed when their local store gets the axe or, worse, watching it slowly decay due to under investment.

Here are five reasons it’s more important than ever to invest in stores and make sure the baby doesn’t disappear with the bathwater. […]

Returns – the true cost to fashion brands (and how to prevent them)

By Steve Johnson, co-founder HOLM

Technology has transformed the way in which we shop for clothes: purchases are made at the touch of a button. Yes, as we whizz towards a 5G world, the buying process has never been easier. It’s what happens next that has failed to keep up. Here we examine how ‘the returns problem’ is set to be the decade’s defining issue for online fashion retailing, and more importantly what can be done to solve it.
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Want to reverse fashion retail store performance? Think how your customer feels.

By Cristina Holm, co-founder HOLM

It makes sense to start HOLM’s series of expert blogs with the why? Why, when bricks-and-mortar fashion shops are closing left right and centre, and there’s a bunch of tech companies developing online personalisation tools, am I launching a system that involves both of these things – interaction with a sales assistant and an app?

I’ll answer this question below, and also share my list of five free yet effective ways that will improve customer service in your store starting today.
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SERVICE FAILINGS YOUR SHOPPERS HATE

Being ‘sold to’

Speaking with ill informed staff

Returning anything

Getting bad advice

Visiting stores to see a website

Having their time wasted

Finding personal data misused

Being disappointed

Service that’s bad can kill a fashion brand, especially in-store. How does your business perform versus our checklist?

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SIZING FLAWS BUT HOLM STYLING FITS

Sizing is the main reason for online fashion returns… or is it? Next time you try on a garment that’s a little tight… try another in the same size.

You may be surprised when you find a difference. Sometimes a big difference! This is because the processes within clothing manufacture (like pattern cutting and sewing) remains particularly manual. It means you rarely find garments identically sized (let alone symmetrical!)

What’s more, in HOLM’s ongoing research, we see variances of 10-15% in the same garments (i.e. same label size, same colour and design). For example, we found a 6cms difference around the chest on a major high street retailer’s medium size polo shirt. That’s a difference of ‘snug’ or ‘loose’ depending which one you selected!

This highlights that ‘SIZING’ recommendation is flawed. Made worse, when you realise that even when you do find a correct size fit, it doesn’t mean it looks good on you.
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