The clothing and accessories industry is very lucrative and makes hundreds of billions of dollars per year. While there are many types of apparel retailers, from those just for children to those that sell designer shoes, one thing they all have in common is the need for technology. In clothing stores, different forms of technology are used each day to make operations more efficient.
Keeping track of inventory is extremely important for clothing stores--running out of a certain style that happens to be popular can result in a great loss of revenue. It's also imperative that inventory be accurately tracked to see trends in external and internal theft. Inventory software that works in conjunction with a clothing store's sales system makes ordering and tracking inventory a much easier task than doing inventory by hand.
Point of Sale
Most cash registers in clothing stores run on software that not only adds sales tax, but processes coupon codes, scans item bar codes and updates store inventory after each purchase. It used to be much more tedious to ring up clothing sales; cash registers from just a couple decades ago were little more than fancy calculators. Technology is also employed at the point of sale in clothing stores through payment systems. Modern clothing stores have systems that scan credit and debit payments and run personal checks through a system that guards against fraud.
Not long ago, the main source of security in clothing stores was an actual guard or security officer, or a team of loss prevention personnel. While some apparel stores still use people to protect their employees and inventory, most have now turned to digital security systems. These sophisticated systems are cost efficient and enable store management to see all around the store via small cameras that transmit images--some security systems also record activity in clothing stores at all times, making thieves easier to catch.
Because there are so many clothing stores for consumers to choose from, the stores must use different forms of technology to stay competitive. Social media is the latest form of technology used by clothing stores not only to promote themselves, but also to connect with customers, handle customer service inquiries and even handle public relations. Many clothing retailers also establish a Web presence with a blog or website, with a great number of them selling their items online as well as in a physical store.
The advancement of technology has made it more feasible, and more sensible, than ever for apparel retailers to sell online. There are a wide variety of online store programs, platforms and software, and many can be tailored to a store's image and brand. A popular e-commerce solution for large clothing retailers is eFashionSolutions, but smaller stores often opt for companies such as Core Commerce, Pro Stores and Big Commerce.
Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.