The State Of Australian Online Shopping

Imran Amed is Founder and Editor of The Business of Fashion. He recently came to Australian Fashion week in Sydney and he has written an article about his trip. Read it here. It’s an interesting article about Australian fashion and worth a read. A snippet from the article grabbed my attention.

For the most part, Australian retailers have been very slow to move online, citing complications with logistics. If Shopbop can get the goods all the way from America to Australia without issue, it’s surprising that local retailers cannot even organise themselves to deliver domestically.

That snippet is spot on because there seems to be an overwhelming resistance adapting to changing shopping habits in Australia and many retailers have missed the online boat or are refusing to catch it. Currently the offerings online from Australian retailers don’t offer as wide a range as international based stores do-not to mention free delivery. Asos, a UK based clothing retailer offer free worldwide shipping. Revolve Clothing are based in the United States and they offer free shipping if you spend over $100. Another great example is Happy Socks who-you guessed it-sell brightly coloured and patterned socks. Buy a minimum of 4 pairs? Free worldwide delivery.
Australian retailers need to suck it up, get online and offer free postage because when it’s not offered it hinders purchasing. You have to scour the website looking for postage information before buying. It’s like looking on E-bay and finding a great t-shirt for ten dollars only to find they charge $30 for postage. Like, wut?

And online shopping is such a common thing to do now because of sites like E-bay. Instead of agonising over a pair of shoes in a store, where I might only have 5 minutes to do so before I get asked to leave-I can agonise in the comfort of my bed with my laptop for hours. I can hum and ha over those shoes for as long as I like. I can factor in the cost, colour, everything in detail instead of making a rushed decision at a store which often happens and your bestie is there telling you you look hot in that stretch snood and then you’re on some worst dressed list on a street style blog within hours. Not speaking from personal experience, honestly. I don’t own a snood. I can’t stress how truthful I’m being. Why does it sound like I’m lying? As if I have a suitcase under my bed full of snoods.

I'm sorry, I can't hear you over how awesome I look

The presumed fear for retailers is that covering delivery costs will eat into profits or worse, run their business into the ground. Which may be true. I’ve been shopping online since the late 90’s and I can remember buying hard to find records and CDs from a British retailer named Boxman. They offered free worldwide delivery on all orders. Admittedly I went a little crazy with this and was ordering CD singles and having them shipped all the way to New Zealand. The delivery was worth more than the price of the CD single. Several months later Boxman shut down. I don’t know if they went out of business because of their delivery offer but it can’t have been wise at that time when online shopping was relatively new.

Look at David Jones’ online store. It’s one of the worst I’ve seen with an abysmal selection of goods. It appears to have been set up for people that need some basics and don’t live near a David Jones store. Or as though they’ve done market research and convinced themselves that people who live near a David Jones store will just go to a store as its easier, more convenient, blah blah and not want to shop online. And they’d be wrong. At worst it also appears to have been set up solely for the purpose of being able to say they’re online. It appears to serve the needs of the retailer, not the buyer because the entire vibe says we don’t want to be online.

Are the offerings from Australian designers worth putting online?

Australian fashion week just recently wrapped and the general consensus was that some designers need to pull up their socks and start making original and creative clothes instead of going on buying trips to Europe, ripping off international brands. The industry is rampant with clothes that are bought from Europe then slightly altered and brazenly passed off as an original design. If this is the norm for local designers then where’s the incentive to buy it and more importantly the pride in wearing it? No one likes to be told their dress looks like a poor man’s Raf Simons.
But it’s not total skulduggery. Dion Lee is stealing all the limelight from fashion week because he’s being original and offering something that every consumer wants: individuality. Can you believe out of an entire fashion week one designer garnered most of the press? He’s been picked up by Net A Porter which is a major coup because I could count the number of Australian designers on one hand who’ve been picked up by the luxury retailer. So it’s testament to the old saying if you build it they will come.

A look from Dion Lee's spring/summer 2011 collection


Jazz futula sum hic said...

Mr no trends! Spot on opinions as always
I mentioned you (oh so briefly) in a post recently, I hope you don't mind xxx Jazz

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