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Online Apparel & Fulfillment Services: What’s New

This is part one in a two-part series. You can read part two here.

There’s always a lot happening in the world of fulfillment, from supply chain news to niche interests like inventory management and order fulfillment updates.

The world of online apparel and apparel fulfillment has seen a number of pretty flashy headlines lately that beg to be addressed, so we’re going to round out some of the most important news of the summer in this two part series.

Try Before You Buy a Big Hit With Shoppers

Normally, online retailers dread dealing with returns, but in a turn about, companies like JackThreads, Ayr.com, Trunk Club (owned by Nordstrom) and CocoDune.com are asking their customers to order whatever tickles their fancy and return whatever they don’t want. JackThreads, for example, won’t even charge for an order until a shopper has had it for seven days, giving a hesitant buyer a few days to try each item on and send anything back to the retailer if the fit is wrong, the color is wrong or they simply changed their minds.

Ayr.com has taken a similar approach, letting customers try up to three pairs of jeans for just $1 each before paying for the jeans they want to keep. Trunk Club is actually moving to a larger fulfillment center because of the wild success of its service, which serves both men and women in a similar manner to JackThreads and Ayr.com. JackThreads told the New York Post that their new approach to customer orders has increased the average order by 50 percent, but the other retailers didn’t comment on sales figures.

More Physical Stores Close as Online Fulfillment Increases

A look through the latest news roll at Internet Retailer paints a grim picture for apparel stores. Shop after shop is closing or downsizing due to a decrease in brick and mortar sales. The latest victim is women’s fashion retailer Chico’s, which has announced another round of layoffs in the name of restructuring and the need for a more responsive customer environment.

The puzzling thing is that along with these layoffs comes the creation of new positions focused on digital analytics. Or, it would be if so many other traditional retailers weren’t already doing the exact same thing—merchants as diverse as Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Perry Ellis, Macy’s and Kohl’s all have reported significant losses in their retail environments while seeing large gains in online sales. Overall, Internet Retailer reports that online apparel market share has grown 220 basis points, which is a remarkable feat.

In part two of this two-part series on the latest news in the online apparel sector and online apparel fulfillment sector, we’ll look at what some of the big brands are doing right now and who’ll be ready for the holiday shopping season and who may be left struggling to catch up.

November 03, 2016
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