Euromonitor International

Euromonitor International

December 13, 2011 10:19 ET

Euromonitor International: Online Sales Service Not Enough for Apparel Retailing Industry

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2011) - The next five years will see a new wave of internet investment come on stream; and at the root of new investment is the need to make online apparel shopping more convenient, accessible and user-friendly. Euromonitor research suggests that the internet will provide the retail apparel industry with the most attractive distribution opportunities going forward; however, offering sales services online will not be enough.

Apparel retailers with an online presence are going to need an additional focus on interactive features and creative platforms that will in essence make the shopping experience online easier. The UK's House of Fraser department store chain, which is the fifth biggest in the country with some 61 outlets, is launching two 'virtual department stores' in a bid to ease the difficulty factor of buying clothes over the internet, according to Euromonitor's latest analysis.

"This is indicative of the type of strategic retail innovation that will become increasingly visible in developed markets over the next five years," said Rob Walker, industry analyst at Euromonitor. "Department stores, as well as specialist retailers and big grocery chains, will look to beef up their participation in what is now a squeezed global apparel market," added Walker

House of Fraser's new virtual stores are an adaptation of the 'click and collect' service that is becoming popular with UK supermarket chains. This service allows online shoppers to select and purchase their goods online and then pick up their purchases at a chosen outlet, rather than having to wait for them to be delivered. This is a move that will help online retailers address the issue of efficiency when it comes to processing online orders.

"The logistical problem of returning clothes that do not fit has also been one of the biggest barriers to stronger growth for the online apparel market," said Walker. "Indeed, the speed and efficiency with which retailers handle online returns is often critical to profitability."

Walker's indicates that in addition to interactive, virtual platforms and improved processing services, future growth will rely on accessing new consumer segments in emerging markets, like China and Brazil, that have a rising middle class with more disposable income and increased access to the internet.

More information on Euromonitor's Internet Retailing and Apparel research can be found here:

About Euromonitor International

Euromonitor International is the world's leading provider for global business intelligence and strategic market analysis. We have more than 39 years of experience publishing international market reports, business reference books and online databases on consumer markets.

We deliver market research solutions to support strategic planning for today's increasingly international business environment. Our research offers in-depth market analysis on consumer goods and services industries worldwide, as well as economic, demographic and socio-economic data and insight on countries and consumers.

Euromonitor International is headquartered in London, with regional offices in Chicago, Singapore, Shanghai, Vilnius, Santiago, Dubai, Cape Town, Tokyo, Sydney and Bangalore, and has a network of over 800 analysts worldwide.

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