The easy transaction process that Amazon has mastered appeals to shoppers’ desire for convenience
Amazon.com Inc. is not only taking market share from traditional retailers Macy’s Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. It’s also setting new standards for customer service that are having an effect on the way bricks-and-mortar stores operate their businesses.
Consumers are still looking for quality products at a good price, signaled by the popularity of off-price retailers like T.J. Maxx, a TJX Cos. brand, or Burlington Stores Inc. But convenience is now becoming an important factor as we move past the recession and consumer health improves.
In recent days, there has been a lot of buzz around Amazon’s moves into fashion, with reports that it is one of the bidders for bankrupt American Apparel and speculation that it is launching a line of yoga pants and other athletic wear.
For fashion, the key to getting shoppers to log on and check out is shipping.
“For a long time, fashion retailers thought that because consumers really needed that in-store experience, they were safe from the ‘Amazon effect’—shoppers wanted to feel the fabric and try on clothes,” said Maya Mikhailov, co-founder of GPShopper, a mobile-commerce platform company. “But what we’ve realized in the last year is consumers don’t care as much about this as long as they’re offered an easy return policy. The tide has shifted and people are willing to buy the majority of their fashion online, and Amazon realizes that.”