High street shops have a sizable new competitor – the online store. The traditional store is becoming threatened by the diversity and low overheads that online retailers enjoy. This article will look at the strengths and weaknesses of both retailing methodologies and ask if the new technology answer will ever replace the established option.
Clothes retailing has always had its place on the high streets and shopping centers around the country, they make up some of the most famous shop brand names in the whole of retailing. The fundamental point about clothes retailing is that customers like to see the goods they are considering purchasing. This does also apply to other goods retailing, but for clothes there is an element of personal judgment used when evaluating if clothes will suit or fit properly. The issue over different manufacturers sizing guides not being reliably the same also means that customers often don’t trust that a ‘plus size 20’ from one company will be the same as a ‘plus size 20’ from another. This again emphasizes the normal need to physically see and handle the clothes to ensure the shopper won’t be disappointed.
The customary option of high street clothing retailing, even with its advantages, is feeling the pinch from increased competition from online retailers, particularly in niche markets such as plus size clothing stores. Although you will not be able to see the clothes apart from photos, there are many benefits that users obviously feel are very persuasive to convincing them that online shopping is the way to go.
One primary advantage that online store generally have is the advantage of price. The lack of an expensive main-street store can usefully cut the overheads for a business. E-commerce business can often be run out of business parks or for small scale enterprises sometimes even out of the family garage. This lack of overhead means that goods can be sold to consumers with reduced mark-up; often undercutting the established stores.
Another benefit for the online store is convenience, users can shop whenever and wherever they please. This is a huge plus for consumers, especially people who work irregular hours or don’t get free time at the weekends. This combined with often free delivery means that many people simply find themselves too busy to visit regular stores can shop on their terms and with good value for money.
Online stores are certainly very popular at the moment; they can offer a very diverse range of products and very reasonable prices. These facts alone do not mean that they have made time-honored retail establishments such as high-street stores irrelevant, just that any of the established retailing giants ignoring the online shopping boom can no longer afford to do so.