Need to try on products gives brick-and-mortar apparel retail an edge over online competitors
According to new research conducted by The NPD Group, being able to see, touch and try on apparel and footwear before purchasing it is the most important reason for 55% of consumers for choosing to shop in physical stores, rather than online, a figure which highlights an interesting strategic advantage for brick-and-mortar retailers.
Indeed, 79% of the adult consumers surveyed by The NPD Group said that they try on apparel before buying it, with 42% saying that they do so all or most of the time, while 37% said that they tried clothes on some of the time.
“While online sales may be growing faster, it is key to make the in-store shopping experience personal for the consumer as in-store accounts for the lion’s share of apparel dollars,” explained NPD apparel industry analyst Maria Rugulo. “The fitting room is still an opportunity to make a personal connection with your consumer since it is still an integral part of the overall shopping experience.”
NPD further pointed out that new purchasing options and services, such as buy-online-pick-up-in-store or click-and-collect, are also bringing increasing numbers of consumers in store. According to a survey completed by Civic Science for NPD’s Trend Tracker, 21% of US adults have chosen to buy apparel or footwear online and pick up in store over the last 12 months.
The popularity of the option, which combines the convenience of e-commerce and the possibility to try on purchases in store should consumers so desire, has received a boost recently due to new upgrades being offered by retailers, including same-day pick-up and curbside delivery.
“The ability for consumers to see, touch, and try on apparel appears to be an advantage for brick and mortar retailers,” added Rugolo. “Now coupled with more convenient ways to shop online and pick up, consumers may be more inclined than ever to make the physical trip.”
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