< Return to insights

The Need for Consumers to See, Touch, and Try On Clothes Gives Brick-and-Mortar Retailers an Edge

The preference to see, touch, and try-on apparel before purchasing is the most important factor for 55 percent of consumers to choose shopping in-store rather than online, reports The NPD Group. When shopping for clothing in-store, 79 percent of adult consumers try on the items before buying, all or most of the time (42 percent) or some of the time (37 percent), according to NPD's apparel industry research.

"While online sales may be growing faster, it is key to make the in-store shopping experience personal for the consumer as in-store accounts for the lion's share of apparel dollars," says Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst, The NPD Group. "The fitting room is still an opportunity to make a personal connection with your consumer since it is still an integral part of the overall shopping experience."

In-store is also catching up to online with regards to convenience. Apparel shoppers have the option to buy-online-and-pick-up-in-store (BOPUS) or click-and-collect, which provides the accessibility of shopping online with the ability to see, feel, and try on an item in-store, if the consumer wants. BOPUS has been around for a while but most recently major brick-and-mortar retailers have enhanced the option by offering same-day or even quicker pick-up, curbside delivery, and other conveniences. Over the last 12 months, 21 percent of U.S. adults answered "yes" to buying apparel and footwear online and then picking it up in store, according to a survey by NPD's according to a survey from Civic Science for NPD's  Trend Tracker.

"The ability for consumers to see, touch, and try on apparel appears to be an advantage for brick and mortar retailers," says Rugolo. "Now coupled with more convenient ways to shop online and pick up, consumers may be more inclined than ever to make the physical trip.