According to Stitches’ 2015 State of the Industry Survey, the decorated-apparel industry is poised for growth this year with the forecast for the segment the highest it’s been in nearly a decade. That’s an average score of 3.61 out of 5 — the strongest rating since 2009.
The T-shirt continues to grow in popularity in large part because of its customizability, and more recently, its ease of purchase online. Despite this expansion of e-commerce in the industry, however, traditional brick and mortar stores will always offer consumers a variety of services e-commerce cannot. With proper attention to the differentiators in these business models, retail locations will continue to thrive in the market.
One such company, Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More, has seen an upward sales trend in its final 2015 report, one that has been continuous since the company first began franchising in 2009. At a time when e-commerce is booming, Big Frog is expanding its national footprint at a rapid pace with more than 65 locations open in 23 states and a projected 80 stores operating by year’s end.
The secret to the company’s success, according to Dr. Tina Bacon De-Frece, president of Big Frog, is their priority to create the “Big Frog Experience” for every guest, every time. With 45 percent of Big Frog’s consumers being repeat customers and 22 percent being referrals, their in-store experience is a proven formula for success.
The in-store difference
While online shopping may be convenient, there are things a brick and mortar store can provide that consumers can never get from the other side of a screen. For example, customers can touch, feel and try on garments. In a Big Frog store they work alongside a graphic artist to create their own unique designs with help from a pro. The environment is one in which communication is valued and fun is celebrated. Franchisees understand that a “value added” experience is created not just by one or two consistent services, but it is also made up of all the tiny things in between. When people shop in-store, they get entertained and get to feel the thrill of designing their own custom shirt. They also get a higher degree of communication in real-time, making for a more streamlined process from start to finish.
At the end of the experience, customers are sincerely thanked for their business because franchisees understand the importance of maintaining a relationship with their guests. “The Big Frog Experience” strives to go beyond just satisfying the customer, to make them fans. Fans will remain loyal to the brand.
In turn, franchisees can follow their passions and the causes they believe in. Because a traditional brick and mortar location services the surrounding community, owners must make community involvement and building relationships with their local organizations a priority. And developing relationships with the community translates into a long-term relationship with the brand.
That’s not to say that e-commerce is an inferior channel, however. In fact, Big Frog notes that it is recommended for a business to offer e-commerce, and if used creatively, it can add to the revenue stream without cutting into brick and mortar profits or traffic. For example, Big Frog offers e-commerce for their customers to sell T-shirts on the site. Customers, or organizations such as dog rescues, churches, charities and schools, can work directly with Big Frog in a traditional location, then reach their networks via online ordering for a streamlined process.
While e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down, traditional locations such as Big Frog will continue to see success and growth by embracing the unique ways in which they can reach the consumer where e-commerce lacks. In a $50 billion garment industry, if traditional locations — like Big Frog –maintain their focus on the in-store customer experience, relationships with community organizations and e-commerce incorporation into their existing business models, they will maintain continued growth in the market.
Interested in working with Big Frog?
Learn how at BigFrog.com