468 Retail and Channel Management Blog

Friday, January 30, 2015

How Modcloth Helped Me Get Over My Fear of Online Shopping

I am not an early adopter of technology. I still take all my notes by hand, I refuse to buy e-books, and my Dad started texting on his cell phone before I did. I am not an ideal e-commerce customer, especially when it comes to something as tactile as clothing. How will I know if something fits without trying it on? How will I know the quality of the material? What if it looks blue in the picture but is actually turquoise in reality?

These were some of the reasons that I did not online shop prior to three years ago. Today, I love online shopping; I don’t have to adhere to store hours, I can buy unique items that I can’t find in-store, and I love going to pick up mail at the post office.


I got over my fear of online shopping when a friend introduced me to Modcloth – an online-only retailer that carries hundreds of independent designers. What made me change my mind about e-commerce and buy something from a retailer I’d never heard of selling brands that I had never heard from? Consumers “value the easy access to detailed product information, especially product reviews that are generated by their peers” (Murray, 69) and in my experience, no one does this better than Modcloth. Unlike other retailers’ e-commerce sites where customer reviews are treated as an after-thought or worse, non-existent, Modcloth’s customer reviews are on the same page as the product and are very detailed. Rather than a simple star rating and comments, Modcloth reviewers rate the product on fit, length and quality, and indicate what size they purchased. Most reviewers also provide a detailed comment and their personal measurements. Some include a picture of them wearing the item. That way it’s easy for buyers to scroll through the comments and read about how the item fit on someone with a similar body type to them. The site also suggests other items and accessories that pair well with the piece you are viewing. 

Additionally, Modcloth offers 24/7 customer service with representatives you a chat with online, as well as their “ModStylists” who can offer styling tips, or help you pick an outfit for a special event. Modcloth not only has better customer service than any other clothing site I’ve visited, but they have better customer service than some brick-and-mortar stores I’ve visited.

One of the fears many retailers have with internet is losing control of the conversation. On a couple occasions I have almost purchased something on Modcloth  only to read a bad review and change my mind. I’m sure I am not the only customer they have lost a short-term purchase with due to their honest customer reviews. However, because I trust the Modcloth community, I have become a long-term customer, purchasing countless items over the last few years and never returning an item.

Other retailers looking to increase their e-commerce presence should follow Modcloth’s lead and aim for superior customer service and community engagement. When done right – both retailers and consumers win.


References:

Murray, K. B. (2013). The Retail Value Proposition. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

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