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News - 8 August 2008

Online sales could be the saviour of fashion retail

Fashion retailers with online e-commerce sites will be the winners when recession bites. Fashion is the fastest growing online category and it is the high street names that are making a killing.

According to a new report from Hitwise fashion retailing online has grown 34% over the last year making it the fastest growing online sector.

The report compared the biggest 100 multi-channel retailers with the 100 biggest pureplay suppliers (those that only operate online). The results showed that retailers with online sites fare better than pureplay retailers or e-tailers.

In the month of July 2008 visits to clothing and accessories sites accounted for 10% of all visits to retail sites.

One of the reasons that fashion is showing relatively accelerated growth online is that it has been a little slower on the uptake than the now established sectors. The early pioneers of online shopping were companies like Amazon selling books and records or electronic goods. Customer usage has reached a plateau in these sectors and so new areas like fashion are outstripping them in terms of growth.

It has taken people a little bit longer to get used to the idea of buying clothes online because they like to touch feel and try on before buying. Most online traders have a returns policy but not everyone is willing to trust online brands. And this is the reason why multichannel retailer are doing so well.

Customers feel more comfortable buying from high street brands online because they have the security of knowing that there is a shop that they can go to if a problem arises. They have also built a level of trust in the brand and know whether or not the company gives good customer service.

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