Consumers spent more online dollars for clothing last year than for computers — for the first time in history. This tidbit was part of the shop.org study, “The State of Retailing Online 2007,” and it surprised me until I read a little further.
It turns out that online retailers have learned how to overcome consumer objections to buying clothes online. Notably, they have added liberal policies such as free shipping on returns and exchanges. To my way of thinking, that would be vital because everyone knows that the sweater that looks fab in the photo may look drab on the Homo sapien.
ln addition to these consumer-friendly policies, the report says, apparel and accessories retailers are using technology that permits customers to zoom and rotate photographs of merchandise and also to view items in various colors. I have been there done that, and I must say that all the technology helps immensely.
All of this smart retailing helped the online “apparel, accessories and footwear category” hit $18.3 billion last year, with a projection that online apparel sales will rise to $22.1 billion this year.
Consumers have been catalog shopping for years, so I suppose buying clothes online wasn’t that big a stretch once retailers worked out the kinks. Now, if they could only introduce technology to help me buy, online, jeans that fit. (It’ll never happen.)
Forrester Research Inc. conducted the study for shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation.