A survey of 2000 UK adults reveals some promising signs for online fashion retailers and an ominous warning for high street retailers clinging to the belief customers still need to touch and feel product in-store.
If it wasn’t apparent already, recent data from the UK reinforces the fact that fashion shopping is increasingly becoming the domain of online retail. GSI Commerce (now owned by eBay) commissioned a survey of 2000 UK adult consumers (granted, the survey was online indicating a skew toward that behaviour) showing a rising preference for online apparel shopping.
Key findings from the report indicated that:
– 45% prefer to shop for fashion over the internet rather than in-store
– 27% said they preferred shopping online because of the choice, 10% because delivery options are broader and 7% because features, service and product information available on a web site is better than in-store
– 42% would like to see more online kiosks in-store
– 64% would window shop via a retailer’s website before going in-store
– 71% of women window shopped online before buying offline, but only 52% of men did likewise
– 56% cited being able to filter searches as their favourite web shopping feature
– Only 3% cited social sharing as an important feature of the online shopping experience (even more interesting considering all the survey respondents were opt-in online survey members)
“This report is very reflective of the trends we’re seeing with our online fashion clients in Australia,” says Mark Brixton, Country Manager, SLI-Systems. “Smart merchandising, quality product features and advances in site search are making the online fashion shopping experience closer to – and now often surpassing – the traditional retail experience.
“Surfstitch, for example, has invested in optimising its site search and merchandising capabilities to great effect, including a new rich auto-complete feature that suggests products visually via a drop-down menu, along with promotions. The sophistication now being applied to online apparel retailing has taken the customer experience to new levels, and shoppers are voting more and more to take their custom into cyberspace.”
Also interesting was the data showing that shopping on both online and high street was still by far the preferred option, a significant percentage of respondents prefer the online channel for their shopping. The survey also indicated that the rush to social media and mobile is misguided, with 90% of respondents saying they had not interacted with any fashion retailer’s Facebook, Twitter or mobile site.