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Shoppers want to buy clothing more sustainably – as long as it doesn’t cost them more: study

Image: Fotolia

Image: Fotolia

Most shoppers want to buy fashion in more sustainable ways, despite the rising cost of living, a new study suggests. But while 57% want fashion to be more sustainable and are willing to change their shopping habits to achieve that, 61% will prioritise price over sustainability if they are asked to choose, according to Nosto research. 

Commerce experience platform Nosto questioned 2,019 UK and US shoppers via Censuswide and found key ways that online fashion retailers can help shoppers buy in more sustainable ways. 

More than half (54%) said they were happy to have deliveries arrive more slowly if that will cut the number of journeys made. Repair options are also a priority – 60% say that companies can be more sustainable by offering repair services, while 42% say they’ve thrown away clothing they’d like to have kept because they couldn’t get it repaired. And shoppers also believe that making it easier to find out in a product will be right for them could reduce levels of returns, whether that’s by enabling shoppers to ask questions via live chat (64%), showing pictures of others wearing their purchases so they can see what they look like in real life (61%) or through virtual try-on tools (59%). 

Almost four in 10 (39%) say they would consider paying more for clothes that are made more sustainably, but 55% say they find it confusing to work out whether items are more sustainable, and 54% don’t trust some brands’ sustainability claims. Some 64% would like clearer information about how products were made, and 57% would like their experience to be personalised so they can only see more sustainable or environmentally-friendly fashion. 

Guy Little, head of brand marketing at Nosto, says: “Encouraging slower deliveries and reducing product returns are both opportunities to be more environmentally friendly without requiring customers to spend more. One of the key challenges for retailers, especially as we head into the peak shopping period, is the impact of returns—both financially and environmentally.

“What we can see from this data is that there are tactics available, such as using post-purchase user-generated images, that retailers can embrace to help reduce return rates and alleviate that pressure. Elsewhere, more than half of shoppers struggle to even identify sustainable products— personalisation can help retailers ensure that environmentally conscious shoppers are seeing the most sustainable items every time they shop online.”

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