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LifeStyle of Wednesday, 15 September 2021


Have Nigerians abandoned physical stores to shop for clothes online?

Photo used to illustrate the story Photo used to illustrate the story

The commercialization of the internet is convenient for the buyers and sellers.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to stay at home, we resorted to online shopping for the ease of it.

Online shopping has made Amazon a billion-dollar company and its founder Jeff Bezos one of the richest men in the world.

Even without the use of such online websites, people now buy and sell on Instagram and WhatsApp are enough to sell your market and buy things.

In 2020, the number of online buyers in Nigeria was about 76.7 million out of Nigeria's population of 206 million according to Statista.

The most used social media platform by people from ages 16 – 64 was WhatsApp, followed by Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. (Statista)

Young people hold their phones and use social media almost immediately they open their eyes until they fall asleep. Instead of leaving their houses to visit stores, they can get what they need online.

I did a Twitter poll where I asked how people buy their clothes, the majority chose online vendors.

But buying clothes from online vendors isn’t easy. There are many downsides.

Blessing ordered a high waisted trouser from a vendor on Instagram. Excitedly, she tore off the wrap, but it was not like she anticipated it, the length was weird, and it didn’t fit well.

Once more she swore off buying clothes online. But she will soon see something attractive online and take the gamble of ordering for it.

With ordering online, there is the issue of appearance versus reality. The trend of 'What I ordered versus what I got' started online to show this disparity.

Buying clothes online makes it easier for dubious sellers to deceive customers.

It makes sense to order from credible pages with a good return policy and if you have had a bad experience with an online vendor, call them out or leave a review so others can be careful.

When it comes to clothes, measurement and fittings are very important, but we miss the opportunity to know if it fits when we buy clothes online.

No matter the pitfalls of buying clothes online, people would most likely choose to do so.

I made a poll on Twitter, and I asked what issues young people feel online vendors should work on and most of them said pricing and quality.

Victor adds, “Things on social media are overpriced but they are available. I don’t have to go from shop to shop looking for what I want.”

Isaac said, “I don’t remember when last I went to the market to buy clothes.”

Young people do not mind paying extra money for delivery; what they have a problem with is overpricing, poor quality and late delivery.

Tomi said, “I realised the clothes I bought from this popular online shop faded so quickly.”

Yet, most people will continue buying clothes online. I asked via a Twitter poll what growth meant for an online clothing brand and most people said a strong online presence meant growth for them.

So no matter how big your business is, if you are not visible online it is almost as if you do not exist. This is because physical stores are limited but, the internet can make you reach the whole world.