With stores closed, many apparel retailers scrambled for another way to get products into shoppers’ hands besides shipping it. Shipping can be expensive and may not arrive quickly enough for shoppers. This spurred many apparel retailers, especially retail chains, to launch curbside pickup for online orders.
As of January 2020, only 1.6% of the 250 apparel retailers in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 offered curbside pickup for online orders; but by June 2020, the percentage had surged to 34.1%.
Retail chains were the most likely to launch curbside pickup, with 50% of Top 1000 apparel retail chains offering the service as of June 2020. This is likely because the main source of retail chains’ revenue—stores—shut down during the pandemic, but those stores could still facilitate online orders to be picked up curbside. Digital Commerce 360 classifies retailers based on their merchant type when they launched. For example, a web-only retailer may have stores if it opened stores after first launching on the web, such as Allbirds. Similarly, many retailers classified as a cataloger may also operate stores.
Shoe retail chain DSW rolled out curbside pickup to its store fleet during the pandemic. It launched a pilot of the service prior to the pandemic in summer 2019, says DSW chief marketing officer Amy Stevenson.
“We had talked about curbside, we were testing it in one store and we were using a fancy application to make it happen,” Stevenson says. “And then COVID hit, and we were like, ‘holy crap we need to roll this out quickly.’”
DSW deployed the service to some stores by the end of March 2020, and by mid-April all of its 650-plus stores offered it, she says. The chain also allowed shoppers to make returns curbside to offer more convenience to consumers. DSW has received positive customer feedback about its curbside service, Stevenson says, and as a result, it now advertises that it offers curbside pickup.
“[Curbside] continues to grow as a percent of sales every day. Once you experience it once and see how easy it is to use, people come back and use it,” Stevenson says without revealing more. Designer Brands, No. 157 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, is the parent company of DSW.
Apparel shoppers are apt to try the service. In fact, 8% of consumers used curbside pickup for apparel items for the first time during the pandemic and 5% used curbside pickup more often for apparel purchases after the coronavirus outbreak began, according to a June Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights survey of 950 online shoppers.
This article is an excerpt from the 2020 Online Apparel Report. This report includes hundreds of data metrics as well as a full list of the top 250 apparel retailers in the Top 1000. View the table of contents for full details on what’s included in the report and learn how to purchase it here.Favorite