If you enjoy shopping from the comfort of your home and in your pajamas, these are the places to go to and the ones to avoid
You heard it in the past, online shopping is killing traditional channels. Media has named the phenomenon the retail apocalypse following the crash of various retailers. Some of the most famous stores were pushed to reduce not only their marketing budgets but also their inventory, laying off thousands of employees. Traditional retailers like Sears, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom, which relied extensively on their brick and mortar business while ignoring original concepts and modern technology, had to close stores and employ ambitious restructuring plans. However, the situation is even more tragic for brands that have filed for bankruptcy like American Apparel, BCBG and Toys R Us.
As consumers look for off-price chains like H&M and Zara, which enjoy complete sovereignty over their manufacturing and supply chain, and for ecommerce outlets like Amazon and Alibaba, that lure shoppers with digital advertising campaigns and the buy from the comfort of your home attitude, traditional retailers are forced to aggressively pursue strategic shifts.
Moreover, the rapid growth of ecommerce outlets has created a niche appealing to both investors and shoppers. Customers love the online shopping experience as most companies are very consumer oriented. From Customer Loyalty Programs to newsletter emails or even personalized complimentary gifts, big ecommerce websites know how to attract and retain their shoppers. Still, consumers should be aware of dishonest brands which employ fraudulent policies
Let’s have a look at the Best, the Worst and the Mediocre ecommerce players.
The winning edge: Aliexpress/ Alibaba
According to Medium Corporation, Alibaba “boasts the biggest IPO in the world, generates more revenue than Amazon and eBay combined.”
Aliexpress is a business to customer platform that links foreign (mostly Chinese) businesses directly to the customer. They are doing a great job in creating support services for customers; for them the shopper is King.
- Diversity- anything can be acquired on their platforms, from fashion apparel to household goods, you name it – they sell it.
- Customer satisfaction guarantee: a transparent, straightforward approach to refund requests and dispute resolutions.
- Engagement: Aliexpress goes beyond the simple purchase, engaging customers in diverse activities where customers can win sales codes and discount coupons. They also connect with their shoppers through social media channels and chat services.
Disadvantage: delivery time.
How is Aliexpress winnining the game in a jam-packed digital space? By focusing on existing customers instead of constantly chasing new connections.
The glamorous: Moda Operandi
Moda Operandi is as glamorous as its founder Lauren Santo Domingo. This is the ecommerce for the luxury lovers, offering the best and most exquisite collections from world- renowned designers.
Advantages: It hosts online trunk- shows that give customers the ability to pre-order exclusive designs straight from the international catwalks and Fashion Weeks. If you don’t mind paying a premium but hate waiting, this is the option for you. Additionally, they have excellent customer service channels and the best online customer support. Moda Operandi can teach other fashion ecommerce retailers better practices and how to satisfy the needs of the most demanding shopper.
Disadvantage: it’s a platform for the selective luxury consumer.
The inventory King: Lyst
Lyst is a global fashion search platform, similar to an encyclopedia of fashion brands. With 9000 designers and over 2000 stores, this is the platform for those who want everything in a single place. If browsing endless dispersed websites is not for you than you’ll enjoy Lyst.
Advantages: impressive inventory and a visually appealing experience. It’s also a great tool for discovering new brands and designers.
Disadvantages: returning policies are a bit more complicated.
The disaster: ASOS
Asos targets students and twentysomethings and they sell fast fashion items of poor quality. As a fast fashion brand, the strategic goal is to sell more instead of selling better. The customer experience is almost nonexistent and the company is focused on securing a purchase at whatever cost. The connection with the current customers is fictional and there aren’t too many benefits in making a new purchase on the website.
Advantages: low prices (but not as low as H&M and other fast fashion retailers).
Disadvantages: The low scores on consumer review websites like Sitejabber (2,3/ 10), BestCompany (1,8/ 10) and TrustPilot (3,5/ 10) show that customer feedback is ignored. While several companies have integrated the customer service into the core of their product, ASOS preferred to employ cost- cutting practices by using chatbots and auto-generated responses. The return policy is quite ridiculous. As some buyers point out if ASOS sends you the wrong item, you’re required to arrange the return shipping and wait for a refund (which takes up to 21 working days). Basically, the customer is penalized for ASOS' mistake. In general, the company’s culture isn't too customer friendly.
Latin American Post | Adina Achim
Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda