American Apparel Rolls Out Weird Reservation System

At this point, anything American Apparel can do to make money, it probably should do. But that motivation doesn’t really explain the new site-to-store reservation system the financially beleaguered company is implementing in November.

Per Internet Retailer, the system allows people to see whether an item they’ve found online is available at his or her local American Apparel store. If it is, a shopper can have a store employee reserve the item in his or her size. Then, a shopper can go into that store, try on whatever they reserved and decide whether or not they want to buy it or save their money for something else.

And that’s what’s so weird about this system to us — its implementation doesn’t really ensure revenue. It’s a creative way of getting people into the stores, and we discovered over the summer just how crucial in-store sales will be to the company’s recovery. But unlike other site-to-store services offered by retailers like WalMart and Best Buy, the American Apparel system doesn’t require you to buy something before you go and pick it up. We understand that’s probably because people generally need to try on clothes before they buy them, and don’t really have the same need (or desire) to test out cheaply made ceramics and tax preparation software before they get to the point of sale.

Then again, those products aren’t as likely to be returned as clothes bought online. The company hopes to bring down online returns and bolster in-store sales in one fell swoop.

“This is another way in which we’re trying to bridge that divide in online shopping and offline shopping,” American Apparel web director Raz Schionning says. “Apparel is ideal for this because we are dealing with a product that has a fairly high return rate. And if this can bring you into our store, then we can introduce you to other products,” he says.

It’s certainly not going to take care of all of the company’s problems, but maybe it’s a start.

[Via Internet Retailer]

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