The Impact of Online Apparel Stores on in-Store Shopping

3618 Words Jun 20th, 2013 15 Pages
The impact of online apparel stores on in-store shopping: A complement rather than a substitute

Abstract

Due to the fast development of the Internet and the growing popularity of online shopping, some argue that the online shopping will substitute store shopping ultimately. For some products such as books and tickets, that might be true, however, for product like apparel - a kind of high-risk and hedonistic product, it is not the case. This essay demonstrates why it is less possible for online apparel shopping to substitute store apparel shopping and how it serves as a complement for store apparel shopping. Finally, some implications on how to make the online apparel shopping more appealing are given.
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Travel agencies, newspapers and telecommunication providers have all suffered severe competition from internet- based substitutes (Grant, 1991). However, in-store apparel shopping is less substitutable by online shopping. On the one hand, it is a product of high risk; on the other hand, the apparel shopping trips to the city center can be more enjoyable.

2.1. Apparel - A product of high risk

According to Peter and Tarpey (1975), the risk here can be defined into six components: financial risk, performance risk, physical risk, psychological risk, social risk and convenience risk. Consumers perceive a higher level of risk when purchasing on the Internet compared with traditional retail formats (Lee & Tan, 2003). However, not all products have the same level of risks for online shopping. Bhatnagar, Misra, and Rao (2000) found that consumers might attempt to purchase low-risk or easy-to-examine products such as books, CDs, and airline tickets by Internet more than products more complex to assess online, such as apparel. In fact, the advent of online bookshops such as Amazon has already severely damaged the profits of conventional bookstores. However, for the products of higher risk, such as apparels, it is less possible that online shopping will substitute in-store shopping. Due to the word limit, I will only examine financial risks and performance risks that I think are mostly related in online apparel shopping.

The financial risk refers to the likelihood of
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