E‑commerce: The Growth Channel for Apparel Retailers

Despite a significant downturn in sales for many apparel retailers in the past year, there's one segment that is showing some signs of life: e‑commerce.

Earlier this month, upscale retailer Talbots announced an expected cost cutting plan and store closures. The company took its 26% drop in direct sales in stride and plans to invest in an updated Web site. Another apparel vendor, Urban Outfitters, announced that its direct sales, primarily Web-​based, jumped 10.9% during the fourth quarter of 2008. It's a safe bet that Urban Outfitters management will continue to invest in e‑commerce tools to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to reaching out to consumers.

Not to be left behind, the original purveyor of pinstripe suits, Brooks Brothers,  has seen the future and recently hired MBS to shift the nature of its e‑commerce model. Brooks Brothers intends to position its Web site "from a general storefront into a portal to local stores." As apparel retailers attempt to find more revenue online, online services vendors can capture more clients.

Share these stories with your Web site and e‑commerce development clients and suggest a marketing campaign that targets apparel retailers.

[Source: "Talbots e‑commerce upgrade," Internet Retailer, 2.11.09; Urban Outfitters..strong Web sales, Internet Retailer, 2.11.09; Bell, Lauren. "Brooks Brothers," DMNews. 2.6.09]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.