I came across an entry on The Lingerie Post blog called “In Favour of Online Lingerie Shopping” written by Gill Fernandez, owner of ever-so-sexy.com website. In it, Fernandez summed up why shopping for lingerie online is better than going to a traditional retailer. As a fellow owner of lingerie and underwear websites (HerRoom & HisRoom) I must confess I too hold a similar view – lingerie shopping online is a much more positive experience than shopping at a lingerie retailer who will coax you into a dressing room, get you to remove your clothes, then hold you hostage by feeding you bras to try on until you beg for mercy and agree to buy several more than you planned. Basically, I hear three arguments against lingerie shopping online:
Can’t try it on before buying.
Can’t touch or feel before buying.
Security concerns when purchasing over the Internet.
Well, let’s take each one of these issues and talk about them. Can’t Try it on before buying – Michael Dell made an interesting comment that really stuck with me. He said he didn’t want to be a customer’s first purchase, but rather every purchase thereafter. The rationale being that the first purchase is fraught with a lot of contemplation, comparison and education. I have pretty much the same view when it comes to women and underwear. A woman who doesn’t know what she wants should probably spend some time just shopping around and looking. But, most of us have already purchased underwear, so we know what we want. There are very few of us who want to just purely shop for a bra. It’s more like we know what features, color and style we want. In fact, many of us are simply replenishing our lingerie supply with a style we already own. So, not trying it on first is really not an issue. For that small percentage out there who aren’t sure of their size, I know that HerRoom has customer reviews, specific sizing charts for each vendor, and “fitters comments” on every item on our site. So, an online customer can actually get more information about a piece of lingerie than they would walking into stores. Now, I get that trying it on first means you don’t make a purchase that you might have to return. But, return policies have become quite simple and fast on most websites. And, the time and gas saved not having to drive to a store probably covers the cost of the return if you don’t like it. Can’t touch or feel before buying – This argument on the surface sounds salient. But, let’s give this a little more thought. If you were to order from a catalog, you couldn’t touch it, and many times when you go into a store, underwear is in a box or packaging that can’t be touched prior to purchase. Look at all the toys and other merchandise that we buy in tamper-proof packaging. We don’t get to touch that either. I hate touting my sites, but I work really hard to come up with solutions to customer concerns when shopping. For example, on HisRoom we have softness and thickness gauges on all our men’s undergarments. This way a guy can gauge how soft and how thick the garment is before he buys it. So, this is just one of many ways for a shopper to get a sense of the garment before it’s purchased online Security Concerns when Purchasing Over the Internet – During the WWW Wild West years of the Internet, I would agree that security was an issue. However, between the banks, credit card companies and our government, this issue has all but gone away. Secure check out on most sites is very safe. Credit card companies are quick to give customers refunds once they prove fraud has occured on their credit cards. You are more likely to have your credit card number stolen at a restaurant or at an ATM than you are at an online retailer. The truth about fraud is that it’s perpetrated more on the websites themselves. Our websites constantly receive bogus orders submitted by faudulent credit cards. The only one this hurts is the online retailer. We don’t have the luxury of a bank or credit card company to refund a mailed-out order if we don’t catch it in time. I will conceed that there is one disadvantage to shopping online – timing. If you need something the same day, you are better off going the traditional retail route and trying to find it in a local shop. Having said that though, there are a number of advantages to shopping online over traditional retail. First, is speed. Online you can visit many different retailers in a relatively short amount of time right from home. Second, your selection online will always be better than anywhere else, Third, convenience. You can literally shop in your underwear. And that brings me to the fourth advantage: privacy. You can freely purchase items you may feel uncomfortable purchasing openly in a retail store. So, I think I’ve crafted a pretty good arguement for shopping online for lingerie and underwear. It is a far improvement over traditional retail lingerie shopping.