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Customer Experience of Online Shopping for Clothes in the UK

 

Introduction

 

In the past few decades, online shopping has greatly experienced explosive growth because it signifies more convenient and economic approach to purchasing compared to the traditional shopping. However, initially, during transitioning from traditional shopping to online shopping, the modern method of purchase, created a sense of great concern among the customers with respect to, online fraud, leak of the personal information, unsuccessful shipping, inconsistency between the ordered quality of product and the desired quality, and others. Today, all these concerns are quite at the minimal level, since people have now recognized the benefits offered by the online shopping. In the technological era, most of the entities use online shopping to attract and satisfy more customers (Dabrynin and Zhang 2019).

 

Over the years, the companies have put more attention on retaining the online customers, since it serves as a means to gain competitive advantage. The consumers purchase more, when they are satisfied with the particular online retailer. It is hence, significant to understand the different factors driving satisfaction of customers and their choices of the online store. The process of purchasing includes recognition of problem or recognition, search of information, evaluation of the alternatives, decision of purchase and post-buying behavior (Bolton et al. 2018). The customer satisfaction is an outcome of customer experience all through the different purchase stages. Since the online consumers’ experience because of inability of the physical contact with the product, is based entirely on the information that is offered by the online stores, it is quite clear that the information provided may affect the satisfaction of the consumer, in the stage of searching information and during the phase of purchase decision (Parise, Guinan and Kafka 2016). Hence, this paper purposes to analyze the customer experience while purchasing clothes over the online platforms in the UK.

 

Research Aim & Objectives, and Questions
Research Aim

 

The main aim of the project is to evaluate customer experience while buying clothes over online platforms. For this, this research paper will determine satisfaction of the customer purchasing products through the online retail entities. This research paper will also identify the impact of the online shopping on improving satisfaction of customers in the retail entities.

 

Research Objectives

 

Based on the aim of research, some of the objectives of this research paper includes following:

 

To discuss the significance of online shopping against the traditional shopping experiences.
To find out the factors helping more to adopt the trends of online shopping.
To identify the impact of the online shopping on the business entities
To determine the satisfaction of customers towards purchasing of products through online retail shop.
To identify impact of the online shopping on improvement of the satisfaction of customer in the retail entities. 

Research Objectives

 

Research Questions

 

According to the research objectives, some of the research questions that can be formulated in this research paper includes following:

 

What are the factors responsible for adopting trends of the online shopping?
What are different impacts of the online shopping on business entities?
What are the impacts of the online shopping on improvement of satisfaction of customers in the retail entities?
What are the suggestions for retail entities to implement the online shopping?

 

Literature Review

 

Significance of Online Shopping Over Conventional Shopping

 

Online shopping is considered to be one of the most commonly used mediums for the convenient shopping. It is a popular means to shop among the community of internet. This trend is becoming much more popular with each passing day all over the world. Around hundreds of websites and applications are created and are deployed every year for catering the rising demands of the comfortable trends of shopping (Sethi, Kaur and Wadera 2018). Online shopping is referred as an activity of purchasing the products & services over internet. It is most convenient of shopping because it helps in buying the products or services any time from anywhere. All one needs to do is visit the specific retailer or website, and make a search of a product and then place an order by making payment online (Lee and Chow 2020). Although online shopping is getting most popular these days, there also includes some issues with it, for instance, customers do not get the chance to physically see the products; risk of online fraud is high; delivery of products takes some time; chances of mishandling during shipping of the products; and others (Kemppainen, Makkonen and Frank 2021).  

 

When it comes to traditional shopping, it includes visiting the store and purchasing the products or services from there. In this kind of shopping, people can actually physically see the products from the pool of available products, and makes decision to buy and make the required payment. This allows the customer to have one to one conversation with the shop personnel or other customers. However, there are various problems related with the traditional shopping, for instance, it may not offer huge range of the products compared to the online shopping; shops do not operate 24*7; customers may lose their time and money to travel to the shop (Dasgupta and Grover 2019).

 

One of the main differences between the online hopping and the traditional shopping is the fact that the online shopping is quite convenient as one can shop anytime, while the traditional shopping is quite time-consuming process but it helps in allowing the customer to see and touch the product when buying (Nash 2019). Online shopping permits the customers to compare the prices and then find out the cheapest product, which is not in case of the traditional shopping. Both of the methods have their own merits and demerits (Schweiger et al. 2020).
Customer’s Preference for the Online Shopping

Research Questions

 

The customers’ preference for the online shopping has been upgrading with each passing day. This has become possible because of different reasons that are highlighted below:

 

Convenience: It is the most significant benefit provided by the online shopping to the consumers, as they can easily shop any desired products without physically going to the store. The customers can purchase the products as per their convenience and time, since the online website allows to shop 24*7. This helps in providing great assistance to the people that are having hectic schedule (Rahman and Mannan 2018). 

 

Broader Selection: Online shopping provides the customers with the benefit of huge range of products. The customer can select the product of his or her choice from the pool of products available on the website. 

 

Information: Online shopping helps in providing the customers with the proper information regarding the products or services of the retail business entities. The customers are provided with adequate, proper and more information regarding the companies’ products or services in the online stores compared to the traditional stores, as the online retail entities like to improvise their revenue through online purchase (Lyu, Li and Law 2019).

 

Exclusive Offers: Most often online stores provide exclusive offers to its consumers. It is something that is rarely provided by the traditional stores. These offers highly attract the customers to purchase their desired product, which otherwise they find it difficult to purchase. Hence, these kinds of exclusive offers provide great opportunity to the customers.

 

Shipping Facility: Online store helps in making delivery of the products to the consumer. Sometimes, the store may charge certain amount for shipping, but that too is acceptable to the consumers because their most of the time is saved in going to the store and purchasing the products. However, there are also some online stores that provides shipping free of cost (Rajani and Nakhat 2019). 
Competitive Pricing: Online store provides most competitive pricing to the customer compared to the traditional store. They sell their products at the lower price, and most of time they provide high discount even on the branded products. This attracts more and more people to shop online (Kawaf and Tagg 2017).

 

Rating and Review: Review and rating are the major benefit to the consumers, as it helps them to take decision regarding purchasing the product. Generally, consumers examine the review & rating of the other consumers regarding the products. Hence, based on those review & rating of the products, the consumers become assisted for selecting best products from various available opportunities (WON and Kim 2020). 
Customer Experience, their Satisfaction, and Competitive Advantages

Literature Review

 

For every organization, one of the most significant goals is to have sustainable competitive advantage. The organizations are required to integrate external and internal resources to reflect the competitive advantages of an organization form valuable, rare, irreplaceable and non-imitative capabilities or resources in the production or marketing process. Sustainable competitive advantage is the valuable, rare, irreplaceable and non-imitative long-term advantages of market formed by the integration of resource in the value creation and distribution process compared with the present or the potential competitors (Chen and Yao 2018). 

 

In the retail industry, high requirements of customer, high competition, and complex technology has become prevalent. The experience of customer has become a significant factor for the retailers to implement the differentiated strategies as well as obtain the sustainable competitive advantage. It has become significant part on the retailers’ value creation process. In the process of shopping, actively guiding and creating the positive emotional experience, can obtain immense satisfaction and loyalty of the customer.  Similarly, the satisfaction of customer is considered to be the core indicator of successful and the long-term competitive advantage. Customer experience is signified to be the most critical determinant of the satisfaction of customer. It is the most significant practice and path for the retail entities to differentiate from the potential and present competitors in the present market environment (Hoyer et al. 2020).
Influence of Online Shopping on the Retail Industry
   

The online shopping trend is significantly increasing these days. Nowadays, people are preferring more online shopping because of their busy schedule, since it becomes easy and convenient to shop without physically going to shop. An integration of the online channel is implemented by the entities to enrich value proposition of the consumers and improve efficiency of the business entities. The industry has been analyzing the marketplace trend effectively for bringing improvisation according to the market trend and consumers’ preference. It upsurges the company’ revenue that gradually aids in reducing the products’ cost and increases the company’s productivity level. The retail companies’ management provide the training program to their existing employees on continuous basis so as to bring out improvisation and innovation in the products and company’s services for providing satisfaction to all existing consumers and grab attention of new consumers (Ek Styvén and Mariani 2020).

 

Today, the retailers have realized the significance of the online shopping and now most of the retailers are attempting to provide online services along with the physical store. The most recent example of this is Covid-19. During the Covid-19 pandemic, when the countries were under lockdown period, most of the business and industry were affected. It is when the companies realized the significance of moving their business towards digitalization. Moving towards digitalization is the need of an hour. There are most of the entities who are having completely online business, such as Amazon, Flipkart, Alibaba and others. While there is other business that have both offline and online store, such as Walmart (Roggeveen, Grewal and Schweiger 2020).

Significance of Online Shopping Over Conventional Shopping

 

Online shopping has assisted the retailers to gain more new customers, as well as advertise their name of brand. Their operations from the physical store to online store now serves as a secondary medium, as people are focusing more and more on purchasing the items online. There are some of the stores that have largely benefitted from it, since they have emerged as a global store just because of the online store and they are now meeting the demands from all over the world (Thaichon and Quach 2016).
Issue of Security

 

Security is referred as the ability of company’s website to protect the personal data of consumers from any unauthorized disclosure of the information during the electronic transactions. It is the key factor that is perceived quite seriously by the consumers of online store. The privacy and security issue play crucial role in the creation of trust during the online transactions. The consumers usually tend to purchase a product from the vendor they are familiar with or whom they trust. The success or failure of any online retailer is dependent upon the most critical issue that is confidence. The security issue is the great issue preventing the consumers from online purchase, as the consumers are concerned regarding the fact that whether they will be deceived by the by vendors who misuse their personal information. The websites that offer more security that have satisfied and reliable information (Insley and Nunan 2014).
Research Methodology

 

Research is the process through which scientific method is implemented, for instance, systematics and planned collection of data, interpretation and analysis to pursue answer of the research questions. Research methodology is the systematic method of resolving the research problem through collecting data by using different tools and the techniques, interpreting the collected data, and drawing the conclusions based on the data (Patten and Newhart 2017). 

 

This research paper is designed on the perspective of customers’ experience while purchasing clothes over the online platforms. In this research paper, mixed research method approach has been selected, which means both qualitative research and quantitative research. The quantitative research method will include obtaining the data through questionnaires, mainly the online ones. The participants having experiences of online purchase will be selected for the questionnaire from the UK. The total number of participants include 60. The valid participants will be randomly selected from the huge base of population using the social media cite, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The selected participants will be informed regarding the research problem and questionnaires were distributed to them in order to extract information from them. Before distributing the questionnaire, it will be ensured that the consent of the participants is taken. On the other hand, qualitative research will include obtaining data through secondary sources. For this, different scholarly publications, magazines, newspaper, books, and different reports published by top 5 UK based online retail companies will be used to extract relevant data from the sources (Cohen, Manion and Morrison 2017).

 

Conclusion

 

Therefore, it can be concluded that because of continuous technological innovation, the conventional purchase method has become inadequate for some of the individuals. Presently, people are preferring simpler method of reaching out to the stores. The internet era is not far from the reality where virtual merchants would be dominating the market, as well as would be playing increasingly significant role. Internet has primarily changed the ideas of consumers on price, convenience, product, speed and service information. It has given rise to the great potential for the businesses.  As an outcome of which, the vendors have found new approach to create the value for customers, and build up the relationships with them. Although online shopping has been increased over the years, the concerns of the online customers and organizations regarding the online security remain exists. This usually led to loss of reputation and trust that may eventually affects the confidence of customer that can be quite damaging for the web-based vendors.

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