E-Commerce Times Talkback
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By all accounts, lots of people are buying lots of items online. And
luckily for e-commerce, the menu of products that people will buy,
sight unseen, seems to be expanding. So why are so many shoppers
reluctant to buy clothes online?
The obvious answer, of course, is that e-shoppers can't try e-clothes on.
Maybe more so than any other item, every piece of clothing is different
for every person. You even need to try on something as basic and
easy as your Levi 501s periodically to make sure your size hasn't changed.
This is something that I have thought about too. It is hard enough to find clothes that fit when you can actually try them on. What I have thought would be one of the best customer services would be a system where you sent all (all, all) of your measurements and with the technology available, or create it if not, they would only send clothes that would fit your body. A particular brand, style etc would only change in size relatively so once one size's measurements were computerized it would be simple for them to do the rest. They could even go so far as to list all the items that would fit into your particular body shape. They may even find out how poorly clothing fits most people!
Once again we have an example of commentators and consultants, who have never been in the retail business, passing judgement on an aspect of the etail business that they do not understand.
The facts are simple: billions of dollars have already been spent on clothing over the internet. While a portion of internet shoppers have chosen to not yet purchase clothing over the Web, it is preposterous to predict that apparel over the net is doomed to failure. Catalog shopping does not afford any greater tactile or visual experinece than the internet does. The returns issue is the same for catalog merchants, and yet direct mail now exceeds 15% of all apparel purchases. Would a direct mail pundit be so naive as to claim that apparel sold via direct mail won't work? (Try telling that to L.L. Bean, J. Crew and Land's End.)
Of course there are limitations to being able to see, smell, feel and taste items that are sold on the web, just as there are the same limitations on items sold over the phome or by mail. To draw broad conlclusions about the relative success of those types of ventures from this single observation is both naive and incorrect.
A greater danger to ecommerce is allowing commnetators who do not have a deep understanding of the issues facing etailers to publish.
I agree with many of the comments posted, in that, the Internet is no more that online mail order and mail order has been selling apparel for years. I work with a site http://lakiss.com that offers rather risqué apparel online and through a paper catalog. Most of their items are produced from a stretch fabric offering a great allowance to work with many shapes and sizes.
In the race to get through the day and get everything we all need to get done, mail order whether on paper or online is here to stay. Let's also, not forget that the Internet is still in it's infancy and is growing rapidly. I'd say we are making significant strides, and all realize there is lots of room for improvement.
Once again, multi-channel retailers who've developed a strong reputation and consumer base offline will have more success than the pure-plays.
Hesitant shoppers ... especially women, for whom apparel sizes typically vary from manufacturer to manufacturer ... can be enticed to shop at the online outlets of retailers whose clothes they've already had the opportunity to try on.
Once you're an established Talbot's, or Gap, or Ann Taylor shopper, you can feel pretty confident about the fit of their clothes. Venture to a BlueFly or other e-tailer with multiple brands and designs, and your confidence level plummets. These guys REALLY need to develop the usable "bells and whistles" for virtual fitting rooms, etc.
I agree with the fact that fit is probably the most important aspect on the clothing purchases online. However i came across a website that is addressing that.
www.americanfitclothing.com that offers pants and jeans custom made, you select style, fabric, color, and your measurements, they made a pair of pants for me that fits my body with my name on it. i think the real winners in eretail would be companies that give customers a service they can not get anywhere else.
I agree that something has to be done about the presentation of items online, however I will continue to buy hard to find sizes in pants and shoes from clothing retailer who offer these items online (and yes I am sometimes disappointed by the color or fit). These retailers have captured a significant portion of my clothing budget because of their ability to specialize.
On line clothing will ever fit? Why not!!! The only diff.is the physical contact with the tailor who stitches your clothes and it is not compulsory to have physical contact as far as your size is conveyed to the other end. A good eg. is www.americanfitclothing.com who takes size to stitch your clothes . So it is not logic "will online clothes ever fit".
Moreover most of the people round the world prefer free style readymade dresses which do not fit exactly as the stitched dress and this free style (M, L, L,XL,XXL) dress can be bought online conveniently .
I think clothes are simply not suited for e-commerce. There is such endless variation among people that even if you provide your exact measurements (and who is honestly going to want *that* information stored in a database somewhere?) there are so many factors that still vary: your skin tone, hair color, eye color, etc. all affect which clothes look good and which make you look like an overripe banana.
This is silly. Cataloguers have been selling clothes successfully for a hundred years without the benefit of touch and feel. In fact, clothing represents one of the largest mail order industries. The problem online is that you can't SEE the product very well -- too small, no models, no background setting and washed-out colors make everything look blah. The sales presentation is just not compelling enough to buy.
Paper catalogs sell billions of clothes, while current online sales are less than $1 billion.
I have developed a patent-pending way to photo-realistically simulate how clothes will look and fit on specific individuals in real-time over the Internet.
This personalization and the benefits of trying on clothes with the convenience and privacy benefits of the Net can help online clothing sales.
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