The digital maturity of apparel retailers is higher than retail overall, and the top 25% of the most digitally mature retailers were able to better react to the disruptions of COVID-19 and somewhat lessen the impact from the shutdown. This finding is from Incisiv’s first annual Apparel Digital Maturity Benchmark report, sponsored by Fluent Commerce and Bridge Solutions Group. Overall, the top quartile of apparel retailers suffered a 25% decline in sales vs. a 46% decline in the bottom quartile of retailers.
This year’s inaugural rankings also highlighted a strong correlation between digital maturity and the percentage of sales driven by digital channels. In 2019, the top 25% of digitally mature retailers saw a 22% increase in digital sales; however, that number is set to increase by 10x or more in 2020. The data in this year’s Apparel Digital Maturity Benchmark also clearly indicates that the financial performance of current digital leaders far exceeds their peers that are less digitally mature.
Based on performance analysis over four stages of the customer journey – product discovery, ordering, fulfillment options, and customer support – the top 10 leading North American cross-format apparel retailers in the 2020 Apparel Digital Maturity Benchmark are:
- Neiman Marcus
- Ann Taylor
- J.C. Penney Co.
- Ralph Lauren
Incisiv also found the following key takeaways in the following areas of the customer journey:
● Research and discovery. Top Three Performers: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Kohl’s
● Online Ordering. Top Three Performers: Macy’s, HOKA ONE ONE, Stride Rite
● Fulfillment. Top Three Performers: Target, Walmart, Ann Taylor
● Customer Engagement and Service. Top Three Performers: Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Belk
“The apparel segment was one of the early adopters of digital technologies and has continued to be a leader in setting expectations for what digital experience should be for customers. However, expectations have been reset yet again and digital platforms will, in many cases, decide if some apparel retailers have a future,” said Amar Mokha, chief operating officer, Incisiv. “New functionalities in areas such as inventory visibility, AR/VR, fulfillment, seamless social media integration and more will make the difference with customers today.