Gen X Indians are getting used to shopping online for gifts and flowers. But clothes? Something that you touch and feel and then take into the trial room? Now huge discounts are tempting many to do all this virtually too.
Online portals like 99labels.com and fashionandyou.com are offering up to 70 percent discounts on clothes and accessories from many top-notch Indian and international brands, tempting people to go for online shopping.
According to Ishita Swarup, chief executive and co-founder of 99labels.com, there has been some resistance to the concept of shopping for clothes online, but the dynamics are now changing.
“Online shopping is still at a nascent stage in India, though internationally it is a well-accepted phenomenon. However, due to the comprehensive research that was conducted before our launch, we have been able to incorporate many features into the website that help customers purchase clothes online,” Swarup told IANS.
“The increase in Internet usage and increasing awareness of the online shopping experience are the factors that will trigger the acceptance of the online shopping phenomena,” she was confident.
It's obviously easier to shop online for accessories like bags, belts or perfumes than for clothes.
Pearl Uppal, CEO of fashionandyou.com, agrees that Indian consumers' buying patterns are based on touch and feel.
“Indians are very value conscious and their buying patterns are based on the touch and feel model. Having said that, we give them such good deals that these hurdles are small,” said Uppal.
“To compensate and to make the shopping experience smoother we provide our members with detailed high-end photographic catalogues, meticulous product descriptions, sizing conversion charts and great customer support, making the apparel buying experience easy,” she added.
Fashionandyou.com gives discounts on items from international brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Jimmy Choo, among others.
Apart from these regular features, 99labels.com has a dedicated customer care team to address the problems or doubts of its customers.
“Our customer care executives are trained to help customers in the purchase decision, by helping them with sizing along with providing responses to questions on the purchase process, etc. We have found that these support functions have made it easier for customers to buy apparel from our site,” said Swarup.
But not everybody has had a happy experience buying clothes online.
“I had ordered lingerie from an online portal. The pictures looked great and the product looked nice. But when it reached me, I was shell-shocked because on the website they had claimed that it was made of silk but it actually was not. I felt cheated,” recollects Nandini Sen of Delhi.
But that has not deterred her confidence in online shopping as she feels online portals sell high-end brand items at hugely discounted rates.
“Plus, the best thing about online shopping is that I don't have to move out anywhere. This is a popular concept in the West and I am sure that it is the future of shopping,” said Sen.
The portals are also emphasising the ease of shopping from your home, and they don't feel the fear of online credit card fraud is a deterrent any more.
“The Indian online audience has evolved phenomenally over the last five years and as a result and we have found that people are comfortable using their credit cards online. The ever-increasing number of online transactions is a clear indication that e-commerce is arguably the future of business in India,” said Swarup.
Click here to see our roundup of online shopping sites.