Online fashion purchase: how the barriers and enablers are influencing the consumer’s decision-making process

Reid, Louise F. ORCID: 0000-0002-4779-4333 and Ross, Heather (2015) Online fashion purchase: how the barriers and enablers are influencing the consumer’s decision-making process. International Journal of Sales, Retailing and Marketing, 4 (2). pp. 45-59.

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Sales on the high-street are declining and increasingly consumers are turning to the internet to purchase fashion products, creating a change in consumer behaviour. During the decision-making process, consumers have an expanding multiplicity of information available to assist in their product choices. However, relying on the representation of a garment on a computer screen, rather than inspecting it prior to purchase, can cause distortions in perceptions during the investigative stages of the decision-making process. This increases the risk taken by the consumer and can result in a rise in returns of unwanted products, leading to dissatisfaction for consumers and higher costs for providers. The research involved a pilot study, utilising a qualitative methodology, to investigate issues surrounding the purchase of fashion items. Two focus groups were conducted, comprising of five respondents in each, both male and female, aged between 18-35 years old. The results showed the main criteria for garment selection were visual appearance, price and fit. However, variations in sizing between brands was highlighted as a concern, as was the time-lag between ordering and receiving an item, especially if the online portrayal of the garment was at variance with the dispatched product. Furthermore, the returns policy of individual brands was reported to be a deciding a factor, especially the level of process complexity and financial costs involved, although the use of click and collect ports or a free returns policy was praised by respondents. This research demonstrated the need for accurate pre-purchase information through the growing channel of online sales. Allowing the consumer to have a clear understanding of products reduces the possibility of post-purchase dissonance. It also acknowledged that a convenient returns policy encourages consumers to take the risk of purchasing, even if there had been no opportunity to examine the garment prior to the decision to buy.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fashion; Online Shopping; Sales; Retail; Marketing; Consumer Behaviour
Related records:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5410 Marketing
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5428 Retail Trade
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Louise Reid
Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 12:58
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 11:44

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