Rapid developments in technology/internet have revolutionized the communication and work sectors (Ahmad, Salman & Ashiq, 2015).
Technology has set a whole of different set of rules for the entire garment industry, making clothing and fashion generally more accessible to a larger range of consumers, and increasing the competition and the challenges that lie with it between the designers, the manufacturers and the retailers (Slyce Acquisition Inc., 2015).According to ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database approximately 80% of people in developed world have access to internet. This comfort in both using the digital environment and sharing personal details has been taken into advantage by the retailers (AMP Capital, 2013) and increased the competitive advantage in clothing industry.
Specifically, the emergence of social media the past decades has enabled the marketing (Ahmad, Salman & Ashiq, 2015) inducing huge success of branding and sales (Slyce Acquisition Inc., 2015). Social media consists of all the online social networks and platforms (Ahmad, Salman & Ashiq, 2015) and facilitates the interaction between different groups of people and companies worldwide (Moran, Seaman & Tinti-Kane, 2012).
Moreover, the growing online shopping of garments has induced rapid changes in the industry (Rosen, Jaffe & Perez-Lopez, 1997) changing the demand and supply dynamics. The conventional selling and marketing tools have been forced to change. Online shopping is fastest and more convenient to consumers; it broadens the available amount of information during both the first and the second step of the consumer decision making, e.g. problem recognition and search stage respectively (Dewey, 1910).The stages of consumer decision making can interchange between the various channels, i.e. the consumer can perform the search stage online and the purchase stage in a physical store and vice versa (Chatterjee, 2010).
However, the research of Lenvin et al. (2005) showed that consumers prefer the physical store for the purchase and the online channel for the search stage.The factor that favors the purchase within an offline channel is that consumers are able to personally encounter a product – feel, touch or try– prior to purchase (Chiang & Dholskia, 2003; Lynch et al., 2001).
Important tactile garment attributes, i.e. texture, cannot be examined during online shopping (Childers et al., 2001).
This is the reason why online purchased garments have a higher return rate than the ones bought in traditional stores (Childers et al., 2001).The impersonal nature of the online channel hinders the establishment of consumer trust (Garbarino & Lee, 2003). Over the past years, the balance of profit power between retailer and manufacturer has usually flipped to one side (Wilson, n.d.
).The urge of retailers to sell more, as a result of the opportunities emerged from the online marketing and shopping, can result to the sacrifice of garment quality for garment quantity.Concluding, the attributes and interaction of online and offline shopping have been studied by numerous researchers. The aforementioned applies also to the effect of social media on fashion industry.
However, this research proposal aims to identify a correlation between the digitalization of the garment retailing and the set of possible effects over garment quality