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Online fashion retail shaping up as powerhouse market


Online shoppers in the United States spent $92 billion on apparel, footwear and accessories in 2015.

That’s according to a new report, by global technology research and advisory company Technavio.

“With e-retailers providing more security features for online payments, free delivery, improved online customer service, and customer-friendly, easy-to-navigate shopping websites, a growing number of consumers are likely to use these portals in the next five years,” said Brijesh Kumar Choubey, one of Technavio’s lead industry analysts for retail goods and services.

The Technavio study identifies the following four emerging trends expected to propel the growth of the online fashion retail market in the United States:

Omnichannel retailing: Omnichannel retailing is fast becoming the norm for many U.S. retailers, offering consumers the option to shop online and pick up the merchandise from the store nearest to their location on the same day.

The report notes that Gap, is developing its omnichannel strategy by integrating its store and digital shopping channels, with such initiatives as ship-from-store, reserve-in-store, and order-in-store programs.

Customization of products: With personalization emerging as a key concept in fashion retail, major fashion players are allowing buyers to customize products to suit their needs. Footwear brands like Converse, Joker’s Closet, Adidas, Ferragamo, Vans, Nike, Shoes of Prey, and Manolo Blahnik have incorporated mass product customization into their online business models, giving customers the freedom to personalize the shoes they buy. The NikeiD website allows customers to pick the color and pattern of the shoes and shoe laces, and even have a message sewn into the tongue of the shoes. Customers can also share their designs online.

At the online retailer Black Lapel. shoppers provide their measurements and get customized style, fabric, and fit. If an item does not fit, Black Lapel will alter it or even remake it at no additional cost.

Emergence of luxury fashion in online fashion: Though late entrants to the online retailing model, luxury brands are now increasingly building their online presence. Brands including Chanel and LVMH's Fendi are now experimenting with online sales. Chanel launched its beauty product e-shop and Fendi launched an e-commerce platform, both in 2015.

Visual commerce trend: There is a rising trend of innovative visualization methods and personalized looks in the fashion e-commerce segment. In 2015, Amazon opened a 46,000-sq.-ft. photography studio with 22 photography bays that will help it create and add more than 500,000 images of clothes to its sites every year, with the ambition of becoming the best place to buy fashion online.

Clozette, a fashion social network, is curating Instagram photos of fashion bloggers and buyers and posting them on its platform for inspiration.

Online fashion house Asos has been working with technology company Olapic to collect user-generated photographs and videos from the web to boost the online shopping experience. Asos uses the software to help organize images it collects as part of its #AsSeenOnMe campaign, encouraging customers to share photos of themselves wearing the retailer's fashion ranges via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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