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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Fashion’s Great Exodus From Brick-and-Mortar to Online

Over the last decade, much has changed in fashion retail. The experience of walking into a shop and looking around at the garments in their jewel-bright displays has always been an experience that clothing lovers have enjoyed, but those consumers are evolving. Not only has online shopping become the most convenient way to get your hands on a new look, but it has also become a cost-effective one. Taking up an entire day huffing up and down the high street, come rain or shine is out and relaxing in front of the fire or with a refreshing cocktail in hand is in. Thanks to the evolution of consumer requirements and the expansion of the online fashion industry, the UK’s move from physical shopping to web browsing is showing no signs of slowing.

Why the change?

If you’re looking for your next designer dress obsession, your new pair of ride-or-die jeans, or an outfit for a holiday party, you can find it online. The question is: why are more fashion consumers driving the greatest fashion business migration in history? Why are more fashion retailers than ever shutting their physical doors for good and opening their online ones to floods of fashion consumers?

1.   Necessity

Necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention. Though the move from a physical store to online operations began before the pandemic hit us, its lasting effect cannot be underestimated. When the first wave of stay-home orders and shutdowns began to resolve into online ordering and no-contact deliveries, the fashion industry was saved from what could have been a debilitating event. It was necessary for us to stay apart, but we still needed access to clothing (not just to wear day to day, but to keep us smiling and looking cute even at home! It was necessary to stay apart, and so we did. If the fashion industry hadn’t been so quick to roll with the punches, the results might have been catastrophic.

2.   Convenience

Even when physical stores opened up again, fashion consumers had seen not only the safety benefits of ordering online but also the convenience. To keep your customers coming back for more, you not only have to have a finger on the pools of what works for them, but you also have to be willing to evolve as their needs do. Time is money in an often very busy modern world, and the modern fashion consumer knows this. They need their fashion brands to offer the most convenient shopping possible, and that’s online.

Keeping a fashion retail store staffed during regular hours can be something of a logistical nightmare, but what about during non-regular hours? Fashion brands know that their consumers need access to fashion at all times of the day and night and should be able to buy their clothing whenever they have the time to: enter 24/7 shopping from their favourite online store. If you have a last-minute party and need a gorgeous dress, there’s overnight shipping. If you lose your luggage and need new clothes on holiday, there’s worldwide shipping. Fashion at the touch of a button.

3.   Access to wider customer bases

To compete in an industry where competition is stiff, fashion brands are going online rather than physically to access a wider and more varied customer base. There are aspects we have already covered, like convenience and necessity, that bring a wide range of customers to online clothing stores, but there are also other factors. Potential customers who live in remote areas may not have access to physical stores, but if they have internet access, then they can access an online clothing store: that’s another new customer for your business. More customers equals more sales which is the bottom line for any good business.

4.   Cost Effectiveness

There’s no question that taking a fashion business online cuts down on a huge number of overheads. Instead of paying an entire retail staff, business owners need only to pay customer support, warehouse, and delivery staff. Instead of costly merchandising in-store, you only have to find a good web designer, shoot new items when they come out, and find a top-notch social media strategist to keep an eye on your brand. Rentals in shopping districts and in malls are often through the roof, especially in the current cost of living crisis, so saving that money means more room for error, experimentation, new collections, and even better pricing to attract yet more customers to your store.

Moving from a physical store to an online one can not only save a business a lot of money but can save a business from having to cease operations entirely. Staying in business when times are tough means cutting back wherever you can, and it’s clear that moving online is like life support for a struggling brand.

The move from physical fashion stores to online ones is one that makes sense on almost every front. For consumers, the move saves time and possibly money while offering them a wider range of choices. For business owners, the move saves money and opens up a whole new world of consumers. Change is the only thing we can rely on in life and business, and this change is certainly one that’s making fashion better for all of us.



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