(Part 1 in a series – Milton’s)

The use of mobile devices to make purchases is still a small fraction of the total sales in the e-commerce world. But it’s rising. As the New York Times said, “last year, people spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets,” and that’s an increase of 81 percent over the previous year. I was curious how that affected my retail clients, so I reached out to them. This post is the first in a short series of responses. My questions were: how does mobile spending affect your retail business? What about show-rooming? How do you either fight it or work with it?

Milton’s is a Boston-based men’s apparel store with two locations. For over 65 years, they have sold suits, shirts, and shoes and provided in-store tailoring services. Today, they’re thoughtfully considering how the online world would help their business and their customers. Unlike a bookseller or an electronics store, for example, “guys have to try on suits, touch the fabric, see the fit, and get it altered,” says Dana Katz, President of Miltons. So while many people are comfortable researching and purchasing electronics on their iPads or desktop computers, it’s not the same for someone who is a well-tailored jacket away from landing that big client or looking his absolute best for an important date. And as long as pricing is fair and the selection is great, brick-and-mortar apparel stores offers an advantage that no online outlet can compete with: service.

So far so good, for Miltons. But Dana knows that the retail business is all about change. Miltons has a lot going on in 2013 for both their online presence and their physical stores. They work hand-in-hand, and their brick and mortar are not going to be left in the ether.

Topics: Retail