- 1 1. Introduction Electronic
- 2 Problems Faced By E-retailers
- 3 Advantages of E-retailers
- 4 Conceptual Model
- 4.1 RETAIL FORMATS
- 4.2 Customization
- 4.3 CHARACTERISTICS OF E-RETAILING
- 5 Conclusion
E-retailing is an exemplary concept in the present and future of textile and apparel industry. It is playing a major role in the present scenario of textile and apparel industry. It is also very significant that the future of textile and apparel industry is complete only with E-retailing.
With the increasing advent of mobile phone users having internet access, the very way of making money has gone through a great change and selling of goods and services online that is E-Retailing has taken a center stage. With this paper, we discuss how this changed way of selling goods affects the textile industry – the benefits and the challenges, how industries can maximize their profit and how the revolution in E-retailing can affect the whole ecosystem supporting the warp and woof of the textile industry.
In e-retailing, it is important to have access to workforces, to purchase preliminary & intermediate textile products on a global basis and then to deliver products to customers worldwide. Success in e-retailing comes from how the value chain is linked to each retail function; how well the relationship is with the customers and other global partners and most importantly from the ability to constantly keep evolving to stay on top in the business.
In this article we are going to touch upon various issues, some of them being the market scenario, brand, profitability by setting a price range, distribution efficiency, customer needs and impact of increasing globalization.
Developments & changes in e-retailing are bound to get noticed because they intimately and directly touch each one of us, regardless of our age, class or profession. Hence along with the challenges, we will also focus on solutions in order to wean it off in a systemized way.
1. Introduction Electronic
E-retailing is the sale of goods and services through the internet. It includes business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales of products and services, through subscriptions to the website content or through advertising. E-tailing requires businesses to tailor traditional business models to the rapidly changing face of the internet and its users. It also requires many product and service displays and specifications, giving shoppers a personal feel for the look and quality of the offerings without requiring them to be present in a store.
The growth in a number of new users is being outpaced by the growth in the number of new websites. Studies also show that retention of one online customer is, for most companies, cheaper than attracting a new one. The high cost of acquiring new customers through advertisements and promotions renders many customer relationships unprofitable during early transactions. It is easy to see that if profits are to be made by online retailers, loyal customers should be captured. In fact, the most successful e-retailers have relied heavily on their loyal customers for revenue. Loyal customers do not only repurchase products from their favorite sellers, they also recommend them to other consumers. For example, eBay (www.ebay.com) assist their referred customers with minor problems and questions. More than half of eBay’s customers are referrals.
Most credible factor in the prospects of the retail sector in India is the increase in the young working population. In India, hefty pay packets, nuclear families in urban areas, along with increasing working women population and emerging opportunities in the services sector. These key factors have been growth drivers in India which now boast of retailing in almost all the preferences of life.
Problems Faced By E-retailers
Creating and maintaining an e-tailing website is expensive. Infrastructure costs for order fulfillment, warehousing goods, dealing with returns and other issues add up quickly. Also, consumers may not trust a company that is not well-established and may not buy from it as frequently as brick-and-mortar stores. Here is a list of some of the basic problems:
1. Can’t Feel Products
Just looking at a photograph and reading a description of a product may give enough information for a consumer to make a purchase online. Some products, however, need to be held, smelled, touched and listened to in person, making them poor candidates for detailing. Musicians, for example, will typically want to play an acoustic guitar before making a purchase, since every guitar has its own unique feel and sound. A person interested in buying speakers for his home stereo may want to listen to them, which can be demonstrated in a retail store but not through an online e-tailer. Deciding on the purchase of a new car is another instance where people are apt to want to smell, sit in and test drives the car.
2. Hard to Build Customer Relations
The friendly smile of an employee greeting you as you walk into a retail store can go a long way in building customer relations, helping ensure repeat business. Helpful and knowledgeable interaction with store employees creates confidence with customers. Etailing lacks the opportunity for face-to-face contact and must try other means to establish long-term relationships with customers.
3. Additional Costs
E-tailing involves additional costs for purchased items compared to purchases made at brick and mortar stores. Items must be mailed or shipped, incurring not only the additional cost of postage but also for packing materials, which can be significant if items are large or fragile. When items have to be returned, even more postage may be required by the e-tailer for return shipping costs.
4. Finding Your E-tail Store
Just creating a website does not ensure potential customers will visit your store. A retail store in a shopping mall is almost guaranteed it will get a lot of interest generated by foot traffic. While there are strategic promotional steps an e-tailer can take to try to increase the odds of his site appearing in the results list from a Google search, driving Internet traffic to a site requires a lot of work, with no sure results.
5. Lack of Consumer Trust and Security
People may have more trust and confidence in dealing with a physical retail store than with an online e-tailer. They know that the store is there, and if they have a problem they know where to go. In contrast, a website might look very impressive, yet the business might simply be a person working part-time with a laptop computer on a kitchen table, which could close the business at any time or simply decide to ignore customers who have complaints. Some consumers might not only be leery of the solidness of an e-tailer but also be hesitant to share credit card and other personal information over the Internet to someone they can’t see. Consumers may have no recourse if the company becomes insolvent and cannot refund product or service payments as requested.
Advantages of E-retailers
E-tailing helps traditional brick-and-mortar stores reach more consumers worldwide and increase sales. While Individual and start-up e-tailers may be launched from a single room with one computer and expand rapidly rather than pay for an entire building with expensive overhead. Here are some of the listed benefits with every e-tailer:
1. Customers comfort and tracing
E-tailers may trace consumers’ shopping behavior while gaining valuable insights into their spending habits, which may lead to increased revenue. In addition, customers shop from the comfort of their homes at any time rather than being physically present in the store during specific hours.
E-Commerce is an efficient retail method for business transactions. Start-up costs for establishing an e-commerce business is far less than expanding your business with more brick and mortar locations. Fewer licenses and permits are required to start an online business than that of a physical store location. You will also save money by using fewer employees to perform operations such as managing inventory and billing customers. You won’t have to search for an appropriate geographic location or worry about paying high utility costs for the facility.
Some consumers are reluctant to embrace e-commerce because of privacy 7 issues. Making an online purchase often requires disclosing personal information such as an address, telephone number, and banking or credit card account information. While many people feel making an online purchase does not compromise their personal information, some still prefer not to take a chance of having their account information accessed by a third party, and will only make their purchases at a storefront operation.
There are always going to be people who prefer to do their shopping at a brick and mortar location. Some people are resistant to change and may not want to embrace e-commerce due to a lack of knowledge about the process or a general reluctance to purchase an item they cannot physically examine. If the product does not meet the customer’s expectations in some way, such as being the wrong size or defective, he must then spend time sending it back and waiting for the replacement product to arrive.
Key formats affecting E-Retailing of textiles are Retail Formats, Customization, and Characteristics, However, some surveys revealed that the most common products sold on the Internet are homogenous goods—those with characteristics that do not differ from store to store—such as books, CDs and computer hardware. Moreover, consumers often view e-commerce systems as a type of service and focus on store characteristics when judging the quality of an e-retailer. Thus, the retail format is the primary focus of the e-retailing world.
We have selected the following Retail Formats variables for investigation:
- Aesthetic attractiveness of the retailer website
- Promptness of service
- Product selection
Various studies in different shopping contexts have proven that pleasing sensory shopping experience contributes to building customer relationships and increasing sales. They suggest that a large weight is put by respondents on elements of aesthetic design in judging site quality and attractiveness to shopping. Indeed, the aesthetic attractiveness of a retailer site plays a pivotal role on purchase intentions. This is because most of the contact the e-shopper makes with the retailer is through the website. For the e-shopper, it is representative of the physical store and the customer service employee if the e-retailer were a brick-and-mortar store. While repeated visits do not necessarily mean repurchase, in the case of a regular shopper, a visit is possibly aimed at a purchase, and he or she is exactly the target for loyalty campaigns. Pleasing store atmosphere provides additional incentive for the shopper to visit a store while in search for merchandise to buy.
Numerous studies have investigated the ‘convenience’ of retail stores/service providers is one of the drivers of business success It is even cited as one of the strongest motives of non-brick and mortar store patrons. It is also known that non-store shopping provides place convenience since they can shop without leaving their location and scheduling convenience is also a plus point as e-retailers enable them to shop whenever they want. The respondents perceive that Internet shopping involves less time and work, and allows them to do comparison-shopping. E-shoppers indeed focus strongly on convenience when shopping online. An e-retailer that presents consumers with added convenience may be seen as a superior alternative for shopping and may win the loyalty of the consumer and we may say that a higher perception of convenience for a site raises loyalty for that site. Product selection and product or service delivery are both elements of convenience. They suggest that a retailer can improve convenience by enabling consumers to increase the number of tasks that can be accomplished during a single shopping visit, or reduce the amount of time required on Internet-Based to complete the shopping task. When a retailer improves the selection of its offerings, it can reduce the need for switching of retailers for consumers as it enables them to buy different needed goods from the same retailer in one shopping session. Promptness of service also increases convenience. Availability of the product or service at the consumer’s expected time provides for “time convenience.” In the case of product delivery, if service is most of the time prompt, the customer will know whether he has enough time from when he orders to when he needs the purchased good, also providing for “schedule convenience.” Thus, a higher perception of product selection for a site raises the perception of convenience for that site. A higher perception of promptness of service for a site raises the perception of convenience for that site.
Promptness of Service
Many studies have shown that it is not so much the duration of wait that causes dissatisfaction and defection of customers. It is discovered that longer waits may not necessarily be evaluated as significantly worse than shorter waits. Therefore, even as rapid service is desirable, a better measure of quality with respect to service time is promptness of service: whether a service is provided within the time expected by the customer. Promptness of service is even more important in Internet retailing than in bricks-and-mortar retailing. As a contact with the customer with the e-retailer is minimal, the retailer’s service delivery becomes very representative of the store’s capabilities. Also, with respect to delivery of products, since the usual 10 delivery channels take more than a day, the importance of promptness of delivery is magnified. Customer satisfaction is enhanced by the explicit provision of service within a stipulated time. Consistent service promptness will assure the customer of the duration of wait through firsthand or secondhand experience, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and preserving customer affinity. The anxiety of being uncertain of when an ordered good or service will be delivered is also reduced with consistent prompt service. All these contribute to providing a picture of a superior shopping alternative to the customer and therefore foster loyalty to the store.
Shopping Preference Theory identifies product selection and a variety of products as one of the determinants of shopping choice for retailers and as a primary objective for internet shopping. The construct product selection represents the customer’s perception of how well an e-retailer’s catalog of product offerings meets his needs and interests and includes his perception of its product selection width. In fact, different e-retailers, such as Amazon, Jabong have diversified their product offerings to capture markets. An appropriate product selection also satisfies the variety-seeking tendencies of consumers. Routine in product consumption may sometimes lead to feelings of monotony and boredom—feelings that the consumer may reduce by introducing stimulation through switching to something different or new relative to his or her previous choice. By providing ample product choices, defection to other retailers due to variety seeking may be prevented. Being able to find in a store the products that one is looking for and interested in will definitely increase one’s affinity to it. To a patron’s friends who might have the same merchandise needs and interests, the presence and location of such a shop may be valuable information. The patron may then want to share this information with his or her friends.
The industrial revolution brought with itself the era of mass-production, you could easily make thousands and millions of copies of a single piece of cloth but times are changing. Today the most popular shopping destinations are lined with designer wear shops, people are ready to wait for 365 days to get their hands on the Birkin bag and every other girl wants to be known as a fashionista. This is the era of mass-customization. The era when every 11 customer gets to portray their style in the most unique of apparels and accessories as now more than ever, clothes are being used not just as a necessity or a style statement but to send out strong messages. The textile industry needs to keep up with the new change and it is necessary to make a mass-customisation conducive environment right from the core of the industry. E-retailing seems to be the perfect medium to flourish in this the mass-customisation era.
The factors supporting the above claim are given as follows:
- E-retailing makes it easier for manufacturers to sell their products directly to the end customer, this removes a large number of middlemen like the distributors, retailers etc. thus reducing the cost of the final item. Thus, the customer can get a customized piece of clothing at more or less at the same price point as they get the mass-manufactured cloth.
- It is easier for manufacturers to gauge the changes in customer choice and preferences and make speedy changes to their product as all the purchases are documented in eretailing and a lot of customers give their reviews on the e-retailing websites.
- Various e-retailing sites not only sell products but also give clothing and outfit suggestions according to the customer’s size and liking. This is a modernization of the fashion and textile industry which is helpful for the mass-customization era.
CHARACTERISTICS OF E-RETAILING
Most every online consumer has experienced negative feelings before frustration, confusion, even anger. When a customer is at a website and ready to purchase, the online retailer wants to be sure they’re happy until the last click. The last thing they need to be faced with is a technical or navigation issue that would make them want to click away. Many successful online stores that have been on the web for a while do a few specific things well. It doesn’t matter if they have the brightest, glitziest sites, or if the home page greets them with music and singing. These things alone do not make customers buy from online stores. More often than not, these things actually deter potential customers. Online retail stores often conduct questionnaires using online survey software to see what the customer’s preferences are or to analyze their buying habits. This helps them to make their web stores more appealing and provide products that the customer wants. Creating the satisfied customer experience can come from a few tried and true methods discovered by successful online stores. They include:
The website should make it easy for the user to find what they’re looking for without a lot of distractions. Minimize clutter, get rid of the extra drop-down menus, and just make things straightforward. Limit the number of categories by including subcategories under the main ones.
2. Minimal Design
The retail websites that greet the user with loud music and eclectic colors are sure to get a click away before the user even peruses the products. Keep things simple and easy on the eye. Customers want to get quickly to what they want to purchase, without a lot of hype and production.
3. Easy Checkout
Asking customers to navigate four to five screens deep just to pay for their wares will only frustrate them. Successful online stores make the checkout pleasant and easy by keeping the steps simple, but also by capturing the essential information in a succinct fashion.
4. Product Showcase and Promotion
What makes a repeat customer? Product promotions and sales, of course! By keeping sales products or featured products in a prominent place on the site, customers look forward to shopping. Product showcases can also entice customers to buy a product that they weren’t intending to buy, but were impressed by when they saw it.
5. Accurate Product Descriptions
Customers can’t touch or hear the products on the retail website. Therefore, it’s important to be as descriptive and accurate as possible so they feel comfortable making their purchase. Successful sites take the extra steps to provide high-definition images and accurate product descriptions. Accurate descriptions also limit the number of returns and dissatisfied customers. With so many online stores competing for the consumer’s attention, it’s critical that retail sites make the buying experience a breeze. They should create sites that are not only user-friendly, but that also make the users want to visit again and again, knowing that they will have a satisfactory, pleasant, and non-stressful website visit.
E-Retail is one of the more visible market sectors on the Web. Nowadays merchants sell products and services directly to a buyer. It occurs when retailers use the Web to sell their products and services. E-retailers constantly challenge the old ways of conducting business as they bring new products and services to market.