Our exclusive expert guest authors are Madumitha Viswanathan and Swaathi Rajamnickam, final year (8th semester) students, Dr Subrata Das, Professor, Department of Fashion Technology, Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Sathyamangalam, India
The guest authors
The remarkable technological growth for the past few years has influenced most of the Indian customers to choose e- retailing and e- shopping. Nowadays, people are more workaholic and find less time for shopping. Their shopping preferences are influenced by less time consumption, product varieties, ease of shopping, etc. Online shopping has reached a tremendous growth in recent years and expected to reach higher levels in the upcoming years. Though there are some bottlenecks in e-retailing, it emerged as a new hope of living and survival by overcoming the obstacles with new features and trends. In accordance with the major role of online shopping in Indian market, the factors and features that influence online shopping in major apparel have been discussed in this paper.
Influencing factors of Apparel E-Retailing
The factors that influence online apparel retailing cannot be covered under a one category. That is why it has been divided into three sub categories namely
- Website attributes
Demographic factors are the socioeconomic characteristics of a population expressed statistically, such as age, sex, educational level, income level, marital status, occupation, religion, birth rate, death rate, average size of family, average age at marriage. This information is used to best match our customers’ needs with product customization. This also helps in grouping the markets into sub-categories based on variables such as occupation, age, religion, nationality, gender, income, race, family size and education.
Psychographic variables are any attributes relating to personality, value, attitudes, interests or lifestyles .They are also called IAO variables (for interests, activities and opinions).It gives information about buyers’ habits, hobbies, spending habits and values. This factor explains “why” buyers buy. This factor is advantageous because it allows you to engage in product design and marketing in a focused manner.
Website structure is defined as to what extent a customer feels that the e-commerce website is user friendly, simple and instinctive. It is an important design element that relates to the interaction system with the involvement of website response and ability. The extent to which an e-commerce website can identify a customer and then modify the choice of products and shopping experience is completely based upon the website attributes.
Status of E-Retailing in India
There are various influencing factors that directly or indirectly affect the shopping behaviour of customers. In recent years, many people are prone to buy online. Though infinity products are available online, the most chosen categories by the customers are clothing, fashion items, cosmetics and electronics. Customers look for good quality product with lower price rates. E-retailing fortunately provides the ease of shopping to choose the products of their own and compare price with other sites to choose a better product. Around 65% of people prefer online shopping to brick and mortar stores. Working and educated people are more inclined towards e- shopping. People of almost all income level buy through online. Urban people are more exposed to internet usage and thus to e- shopping.
A SWOT, the analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats has been carried out to understand the status of e- retailing for apparel in India.
- Ease of shopping, product variety, facilities like door delivery, cash on delivery, order tracking and exchange offer are the most attractive website attributes to induce impulse buying
- Larger number of internet usage extends its hands towards online shopping
- Expansive range of products
- Global operation
- E- shopping has not yet reached the rural areas
- Quality of the products and packaging are main drawbacks that divert the customers from online shopping
- Lack of trust and transaction safety are also the major reasons people drift apart from e- shopping
- More emphasizing the quality makes the products more expensive
- Tremendous growth of technologies will lay a different path for e- retailing and e- shopping
- Payments by online system
- Selling more their own brands, services and products
- Rising service and product category
- More international e-stores in the world
- Uncertainty of online transactions
- Regional e-retailers low prices
- Hard competition
- Absence of touch and feel of products
Online shopping is a growing trend across India. It is essential for any e- retailer to know the consumer’s buying behaviour and buying pattern of goods. Those factors that determine the buying habits are identified as demographics, psychographics and website attributes. The website factors have the major impact on online shopping. Still many inadequate and improper facilities in e- retailing are yet to be corrected to reach greater heights. Any e-retailer must concentrate on website attributes and services to increase trust and satisfaction of online shoppers. Order tracking, discounts, quality, transaction safety, product variety are the major factors customers look for during online shopping in India. The e-retailer should apply these factors effectively to meet the growing customers’ needs.