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Almost half of fashion shoppers prefer to buy online: research

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Fashion shoppers who in years gone by preferred to see and touch clothes for themselves before buying appear to have changed their minds. Today almost half (45%) of them prefer to buy their clothes and accessories online, according to new research.

Ecommerce provider GSI Commerce’s Multichannel Fashion Report also found that 64% of shoppers said they researched their fashion purchases online. Hosein Moghaddas, VP and MD International at GSI Commerce, said: “The online fashion buying boom is long overdue, primarily due to the problem that consumers had with not being able to touch and feel items by buying online.

“However it’s clear that fashion retailers have pulled out all the stops to eliminate this issue by installing features including advanced zoom facilities, interactive catwalks and 360 rotation options. Most of the leading brands now have these options widely available and it appears to have worked.”

The report also looked at which tools were most likely to appeal to shoppers, and found 56% like to filter searches based on their size as well as the colour and price of an item. At the other end of the spectrum only 5% said celebrity videos or adverts played a part in their buying decisions.

Asked which in-store features they would like to see, 43% of respondents said they would like to choose the time and place of delivery for out-of-stock items, while 42% wanted to see more transactional online kiosks where consumers can see inventory and delivery schedules. And across channels, 86% of respondents said they would expect customer service teams to be aware of a complaint they had made, so that a call centre would know if they had complained through its Facebook page.

Shoppers were asked to rate different retailers’ online and offline customer service. Some 33% voted for department stores, 20% for grocery retailers and only 10% for luxury fashion retailers.

Moghaddas said: “It is now imperative that fashion retailers give shoppers the same shopping experience at every level. In this ‘omnichannel’ era where the consumer is king, it is of no consequence to your audience which channel they use, or whether a retailer is out of stock of an item in one store. Brands now have everything at their disposal to make sure that their customer’s shopping experience is completely synchronised, regardless of where they are searching.”

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