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Online fashion shopping on an exponential ride

Fashion sites like are joining the ranks of books and electronics in the online gold rush. At first, clothing shoppers were wary for obvious reasons. But online fashion service has gotten better.

True, shoppers still can't have the item as quickly as they do when buying in a bricks and mortar store, but there are other benefits. Online clothes shopping allows us to order several sizes and to try them on in the comfort of our own home, sending back those sizes that do not fit. There is no hustle and bustle or dressing room line with which to deal, no parking, and no sales person to track down for a missing price tag.

In 2012, it was reported that clothing sales online only accounted for 13 percent of all clothing sales. This number however, is expected to skyrocket soon. Why?

Because of better photography, product videos, lookbooks, magazine quality content to help buyers make up their minds as to what to wear. Shopper reviews are also helping drive online clothing sales. And more tools and gimmicks for finding the right size or choosing the most becoming colour, will undoubtedly be popping up as the drive to gain more online customers gets stronger.

Other techniques that are helping the trend include daily deals and flash sales, cross-channel integration - being able to access sales information and reliable inventory counts via smart phone apps, the company web site or the shop shelf - expedited shipping, in-store pick-up - either in the company store or that of a partner - and social networking. Retailers are also letting shoppers upload personal videos to shopping sites of users modeling clothes.

Why are more people shopping for clothes online? For its convenience, more choices - access to international fashion or clothing that is not so easily available locally - and for some, it is finding that rare piece that no one else will have, even if it comes from someone else's closet.

Brand names, which up until now perhaps only showcased their clothing online, are now taking steps to enable shoppers to purchase clothing as well. Moreover, as online shopping for clothes grows, retailers are going to be bidding for the same key words and using similar acquisition strategies, driving the price of an online customer to the stars, which means retailers are going to have to develop unique and innovative ways of attracting and keeping customers with online loyalty programs, among other schemes.

The good thing is that all this rush toward the internet is actually going to improve the in-store experience, as stores will have to compete to keep shoppers. Undoubtedly price comparisons will become easier and shoppers will be able to expect a better physical experience through more informed and savvy sales staff and innovative proprietary items that will not be available anywhere else. Also, retailers are going to make better use of big data in order to fine-tune shoppers' experiences. This can be viewed as either frightening or exciting, or both. Stay tuned. 

This article has been written by

Mon 04 Aug 2014, 15:18
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