Ecommerce as a tactic for fashion shopping errors-free?
Some months ago I wrote a post trying to picture how our shopping experience will evolve in 2, 7, 12 years from now. Probably price transparency, geolocalization, hyper customization, user generated products, drones delivery, abundance of special deals will be the consumers’ dream come true.
Well, will be a wonderful world to live in.
While waiting for price transparency, products customization, delivery in few hours, what can we do to optimize our online shopping experience?
The topic is not a new one: pro and cons of ecommerce have been enumerated, analyzed, dissected hundreds of times during the last 15 years. I won’t try to write something unique, I will simply report a personal story and some thoughts arose from my experience.
It all started with cleaning out my wardrobe. I couldn’t believe how many dresses I bought and never worn. Pink leggings would probably be OK only for attending a nostalgic glam rock party…! A mix of anger and shame took over me. Finally it was me buying those stuff. No excuses. The anger should be directed only towards myself. I could claim I was misleaded by seemingly well-intentioned salesgirl, but indeed it’s me who paid and bought.
Chitchatting with friends made it clear that the “never worn” issue was not only mine. Almost all the girls I had the chance to talk with screwed up on buying clothes. They all have pieces they don’t like and will never wear. Gender issue? Maybe. I believe it happens as well to men.
The next step was to reflect (again and again!) about the differences between the traditional buying “offline” activity versus online shopping and I started wondering: “Could online shopping be a tactic to avoid buying those clothes I will never wear?” Yes, I strongly believe it can. Why? Some of my (personal) reasons:
- Try it at home more than once. Salesgirls are paid to sell. It’s extremely hard to resist to the manipulative influence of the nice shops’ atmosphere, of your “being in the buying mood” and on top of the cheerleading sales assistant wowing whatever you put on. On the contrary buying online permits you to try how it fits at home, more than once, asking your friends for an honest feedback.
- Return policy it doesn’t fit, you don’t like it, color and material seemed to be different on the website. Just return it back. Easy, often you don’t have to pay any additional fee and it will be picked up at home/office. No obsessive sales assistant aiming to persuade you to keep it. No getting crazy to find the paper invoice to give it back.
- Timing for me traditional clothes shopping means to rush on Saturday afternoon looking for what I’d like to buy while surfing the crowd. During the week I’m rarely free before 7pm. Online shopping permits me to select and buy in the evening, relaxing on the sofa.
- Selection I do have access to hundreds of pieces online. To get the same amount and diversity “offline” I should probably spend several weeks flying from one shop to another. Amazon’s Universal Wish List helps me to cope with the myriad e-commerce sites and with the overload of buyable pieces since it allows to pin my favorites from any site. I can think and rethink before adding into my basket and pay. Buying become much less impulsive and much more an informed decision.
- Price comparison&savings comparing prices online is just few clicks away, even though it could be a bit harder for not well known brands. Price comparison offline could either be not possible either could mean have to visit several shops around the city. Time consuming and stressing.
There are indeed hidden traps as well buying online. You are at home, no cheerleading salesgirl trying to influence you, but still you should get advantage of your rational brain. Ask yourself:
- Do I feel like like Clark Kent transformed into Superman namely cooler, nicer, smarter or like Clark transformed into a Superman with Lion head (yes, it happened. Marvel tried it out. There are sketched proofs. Check here the most embarrassing super heroes transformation). Buy it only if you feel like a classy and classic Super(wo)man.
- Deals could be convenient and attractive, but remember what Groupon have done to us: “you’ ll find yourself 30 miles away eating a type of food you even don’t like” as claimed by Professor Berger (check the interview about The psychology behind deals here). Buy the 70% discounted piece only if it make you feel like a Super(wo)man.
- Fashion bloggers likes to post authoritative selections of pieces. Read, learn, stay trendy but keep your own style. And be aware of the climate. If you live in London probably you won’t wear sandals daily.
- Even when buying online follow the Michael Kors 70/30 “meat and potatoes” rule. “70 percent of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes. 30 percent should be icing and fluff— that’s colour, pattern, shine, accessories. “ Be sure you target first the must have staples (70%) and then you’d turn into buying the attractive, colorful, good-deals, fashion bloggers advised of the “other” (30%) items.
- Before clicking on the buy button read carefully terms&conditions and taxation rules: the online world can fail you with international taxes and charges even in case of return. And there’s the risk that the item will get stuck in customs.
What about you? Do you have clothes you never wear? Or, if your wardrobe is streamlined ..how did you achieve it? Do you believe that buying online could help you to avoid shopping mistakes?