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Online retailers offer ‘try before you buy’

US online shoppers can now try shoes at home on approval before they are purchased.

Always trying to find ways to stand out from the competition, a number of online retailers are allowing their customers to try shoes on at home – ‘on approval’ – before they actually pay for them. Obviously, safeguards are in place – details of the shopper’s credit card are taken, but no charge is made unless the goods are not returned within a stipulated time period (usually about a week) or if the items are damaged. Normally, delivery and returns are free. One web-based company in the USA allows its customers to try up to five pairs of shoes for free in the comfort of their home for a maximum of 12 days. Most of the companies involved tend to offer higher-priced products.

This strategy certainly will not suit everyone, as many consumers enjoy the immediate experience of trying on footwear in a store and then being able to take their purchase home with them. Nevertheless, the retailers that have started to use this form of marketing say it works for busy people who have little time to go shopping.

“Our customers tend to have more money than time," said the owner of a company which sells high-end women's clothing via the internet and sends out goods for ten days without charge. “Customers like trying on items at home because they can see if they match with the jackets or shoes they already have in their closet,” he continued.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 3 of the April 2014 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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