CHANGING FACE OF APPAREL RETAILING

Apparels form one of the largest retail categories all over the world. It is one of the most happening retail categories. Consumers belonging to different segments have different choices and their choices in this category change fast. When we think of fashion, we think of apparels first. As fashion by nature is changing continuously, the consumer preferences related to apparels keep on changing. The changes in this category is not related only to merchandise being retailed, but also in the way retailing is done. The advent of new technologies provide new ways for apparel retailing. When we look at the data related to online retailing, we find that clothing is one of the most purchased product categories. This trend is visible in many parts of the world like Europe, Middle East, Latin America and so on. Online shoppers have many obvious advantages over offline shoppers. The most important is they can buy directly from the merchants situated in any part of the world. This may result in better value for their money and direct interactions with these merchants expedites the process of product development as consumers' choices and consumers have chances of being better informed about the products. No wonder, a large number of online shoppers from Eastern European countries can be seen buying directly online from the clothing merchants in East Asian or Western European countries. In other cases, there are large number of customers who do the switching between the channels. They sometimes use the ecommerce websites as virtual shop windows, and purchase in physical stores. Filtering options and attractive images facilitate smooth browsing and shopping experience. Many online retailers are creating attractive social media profiles, and are able to pull the buyers towards through Facebook and Twitter. The social media offers many conveniences at one place. They can compare the product offerings, they can get the opinions of other shoppers through reviews and can check the availability and product details about large number of products in short time by using various combinations of filters and keywords.​​ The possibility of shopping through mobile phones and tablets have made online buying further attractive. In a few countries, shopping through mobile phones is growing very fast. For example, in South Korea, thirty percent shoppers purchased their recent clothing through mobile phones. Consumers are also using mobile applications like The Hunt, LIKEtoKNOW.it, Keep, Lyst etc. The distinction between the online and offline activities of shoppers are getting blurred. Shoppers are not only moving between the devices, they are using mobile devices for shopping while in stores as well. It helps them in assuring that they get the best value for their money and they are able to check all the relevant products before making any purchase. We will see far smarter technologies in near future, which will change the way we shop today. The advent of Virtual Reality and various apps has so many surprises in store for all of us. A new app under development will do away with the need of physically trying clothes on our bodies. It will create a composite image of a person's form and then facilitate the 'trying on' items of clothing.

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