10 reasons why shopping on the high street is better than buying clothes online

15th Jan 19 | Fashion

New research shows that the majority of consumers still prefer shops to fashion websites.

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According to sales statistics released today, fast fashion is booming in the UK, with Boohoo, the retailer which also owns Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal, revealing that its revenues surged by 44% to £328.2 million in the last four months of 2018.

The company, which specialises in affordable, trend-led clothing, appeals to shoppers who want to browse and grab an outfit without having to step foot outside the door.

Convenience and cost are two major advantages when it comes to fashion websites, with experts saying that traditional bricks and mortar stores must be wary of declining footfall. But new research today reveals that the majority of consumers still prefer the high street to online clothes shopping.

According to the Fashion Retail Academy, 61% of consumers like to try on clothes in-store and 70% still buy less than half their fashion items online.

In response to flagging sales, retailers are realising they need to up their game in order to entice shoppers back into stores, and it seems to be working.

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“In the same way that books have enjoyed a resurgence against the Kindle in recent times thanks to the experience of leafing through a much loved paperback, the experiential aspect of heading to the shops will never be replaced wholesale by browsing online for new clothes,” says Lee Lucas, principal of the Fashion Retail Academy.

And we have to agree. It may be fast and convenient, but there are some ways online shopping can’t compete with actually going into a shop and finding the perfect pair of shoes or an amazing new dress.

Here, in defence of the great British high street, are ten reasons real shops are better than retail websites…

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1. You can find the right size

It’s by far the biggest complaint when it comes to dissatisfied e-shoppers: sizing.

When choosing a size online you’re basically playing retail roulette, because who knows whether that so-called bodycon dress is going to look like a bin bag or if that oversized T-shirt is going to cling to your every curve.

There’s no such problem in shops, though, you’ll know straight away if something is the right size and whether it suits you once you’ve tried it on.

2. You can feel the fabric

No amount of close-up shots can really convey what a fabric is like until you’ve actually opened that package and got the garment in your hands.

That’s when you’ll discover what looked like thick, stretchy jersey in pictures is actually see-through, that cable knit jumper is itchier than a bad case of chicken pox and that cute pleated skirt dissolves into a creased disaster the minute you sit down.

3. You can avoid internet #fashionfails

Online, the magic of styling, photography and retouching combine to make just about every garment look amazing – and it helps that models are usually gazelle-like beauties.

Excitement at the gorgeous maxi dress you’ve got for your holiday can swiftly turn to rage when you try it on to discover the slinky floor-length gown you ordered is actually baggy, ill-fitting and barely covers your knees.

This is particularly true for overseas sites – check out the #fashionfail hashtag on Instagram if you don’t believe us.

4. You can try whole outfits

With an entire store at your disposal, you can grab the shoes, bag and jacket to see if your desired dress looks good with a variety of heel heights and accessories without having to commit to buying them – putting all those in items in your online basket would be a very expensive gamble.

5. You don’t have to do returns

What happens when you do end up with the wrong size, poor quality fabric or something you just don’t like?

It’s got to go back, which means arranging a pick up or traipsing to the post office on your lunch break and queuing for ages. Extra life admin is what it is, and no one has time for that.

6. You don’t have to deal with deliveries

Plus, even if you want to keep your purchases, there’s often annoying delivery admin to deal with before you can get your hands on them.

Packages that don’t turn up on time, or go to the wrong address, or end up at a sorting office that’s miles from your house… shopping shouldn’t be this stressful.

7. It’s better for the environment

Just think about all the airmiles and plastic packaging that accumulate if you buy from multiple retailers all over the world compared to when you wander down to your local high street and take home all your purchases in a reusable shopping bag. It’s what David Attenborough would want.

8. You can support independent brands

Another advantage of visiting your local high street is that you can browse independent retailers and support homegrown fashion talent.

Plus, you’re more likely to find something that no one else has if you shop locally, whereas all the big fast fashion sites churn out the same catwalk and celebrity trends.

9. It’s better for your health

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Sitting on your sofa scrolling through the sale section of ASOS while munching on crisps and sipping on Coke isn’t going to burn any calories is it?

But flitting from store to store and trying on multiple outfits, now that’s going to get your heart rate going – so go forth and shop, but make sure you take the stairs instead of the lift.

10. It’s more fun

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Just as social media has actually made people less sociable because they feel like they’re connecting with friends on the internet and don’t need to make as much effort in real life, solo online shopping is nowhere near as fun as hitting the high street with your pals.

Having a second opinion when you’re not sure whether you can pull off a pair of ‘mom’ jeans or sock boots is essential if you want to avoid a changing room panic, and you can make a day of it with lunch or cocktails – or both.

© Press Association 2019

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