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Until 2016, overall clothing sales grew strongly both online and “offline” for seven years. However, since 2016, in-store clothing sales began to fall while online sales continued to rise. Consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel research group, Glen Tooke explains, “Online is now growing at the expense of offline”.

Over the last five years, online sales of non-food items has jumped from 11.6 percent of the total market in December 2012 to 24.1 percent in December 2017. What has led online sales to climb so high? The number one factor seems to be convenience. Next day delivery is not only standard now but expected. Some online retailers are even pushing for same-day delivery in certain areas. Customers appreciate the convenience of being able to order several items, try them on and then send some back.

Price is also an important factor. In some cases, it is not necessarily cheaper to shop online. Nonetheless, many consumers perceive online shopping to be cheaper.

The Future of Online-Only Retailers and Brick-and-Mortar

Many are asking how much further online sales will grow. Tooke points to the more mature German online clothing market, which is now showing signs of plateauing at 25 percent. Others, like senior retail analyst at Mintel, Nick Carroll, is more cautious in sharing where the final ceiling for online sales might be.

And physical stores? Do they have a future in the face of continued growth of online sales? Both Tooke and Carroll agree that brick-and-mortar will still exist. Customers often seek advice on fit for certain items, and others enjoy the option of going out for the day to go shopping. Physical stores also support online sales. A customer may not purchase the outfit they saw in the store window, but they might decide to go ahead and order online when they get home.

Where Online Stores Find Their Support

In order to accept payment, online lenders must first secure a merchant account. Retail online shops often have a difficult time finding a provider willing to offer such services. Why? The retail industry is known for having high chargeback rates, which makes traditional processors hesitant to work with these businesses.

Fortunately, alternative providers specialize in providing products that support the e-commerce businesses. If you need merchant services to help your business grow, consider working with a provider like Payvector. Your business can setup an account quickly and start processing customers’ payments within days.

Author Bio: Payment industry expert Taylor Cole is a passionate merchant account expert who understands the complicated world of accepting credit and debit cards at your business. His understanding of the industry has helped thousands of business owners save money and time.