Many shoppers said they were increasingly aware of brands’ sustainability claims and said they were often looking for more sustainable options. This was also true for those who regularly buy fast fashion brands. However, rising costs mean that sustainability considerations have become a highly personal calculation, balancing sustainability with quality, fit, design and cost.
According to the EPAM Continuum survey, brands that are able to facilitate decision-making – by offering a combination of ethics, sustainability, quality and value without the customer having to work hard to find them – are best positioned to succeed.
Hybrid shopping has become a conscious choice for fashion consumers following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, according to an 18-month, four-phase survey in the US, UK and Germany by Boston-based EPAM Continuum. The survey also revealed that consumers aspired to buy sustainable fashion products, but affordability was still preferred.
Consumers were quick to share experiences – good and bad. For a sustainable hybrid model, it’s important that brands create equally positive experiences in-store and online.
Convenience and choice were the most common reasons for shopping online, as consumers said they could compare quickly and easily. The more familiar the consumer was with the brand, the more likely they were to feel confident buying with it online.
However, consumers would still be drawn to stores to try on the product before buying, especially if it was an expensive purchase or they were unsure of the size.
Shoppers expressed their delight at returning to stores, especially when the experience was memorable. So the opportunity remains for brands to entice consumers to visit stores and provide them with a unique and memorable experience when they do.
Not every memorable experience is a good one, and some consumers felt that poor customer service had become more common after the pandemic, a clear barrier to loyalty. However, this only increases the opportunity for retailers to stand out by getting the in-store experience right.
COVID was no longer a dominant issue among shoppers, but its presence was still felt in each of the markets surveyed, especially in Germany. A minority, still fearful of COVID, questioned store safety measures and preferred to shop online.
Attitudes towards the metaversion varied according to the level of exposure to it. Those with little or no experience of it were rather skeptical of its wider impact. German shoppers were the least aware of the metaversion and most worried about the impact of a society that spends more time online.
Those who had direct experience with metaversion expressed more enthusiasm, although there was some hesitation about using it on a large scale.
Wholesalers like Amazon, TJ Maxx, and Target have been popular with consumers for assortment, affordability, and accessibility. Shoppers continued to praise these brands for offering a wide range of products at affordable prices and accessible locations, the survey further said.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DP)