We recently came across an interesting visual model showing the intricate psychological processes and physical steps to buying and selling a suit online from both a buyers and sellers standpoint. This model shows the detailed steps to ensure both the consumer and the retailer have a profitable e-commerce experience. Of course, no model can tell the whole story, but this is a good start.
This model shows the basis process from left to right that a man may consider when purchasing a suit online. The bottom half of the chart shows the task of the retailer to match the needs of the consumer. From left to right we can see the most important factors to men are tactile and physical such as fabric and fit. Some of the least important are price and trends. This is not a one size fits all model. Of course, some men are more sensitive to price or trends than others, but overall the prevailing importance lies in the construction and fit of the product and less with the price of it.
There are many factors that go into purchasing a suit in person. There are possibly even more when buying via ecommerce. Consumers thoughts, concerns, questions and motivations change when buying online versus in person. Therefore, the retailer needs to be flexible in not only the product they offer it, but also in the way they offer it. This requires retailers to think about the selling process from start to finish from both a technical and psychological perspective.
Men are instinctive buyers which means we make buying decisions based on visual and tactile cues. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Unfortunately, many men are color blind which makes the task of selling a suit to a man who can’t see the difference between navy and black all the more difficult. The process online is even more unreliable as screen resolution, mobile devices and overall lack of human attention contribute to the daunting task of creating a seamless e-commerce buying avenue for men.
In a second model the consumers mental questions are tracked from an online perspective. Everything from the initial site visit to the potential purchase is tracked. These decisions can be made quickly within a few minutes or they can be made over time as the potential customers revisit the retailers platform repeatedly. Either way, it is the responsibility of the consumer to ask themselves these questions to ensure they are receiving the best product possible. It is the responsibility of the retailer to ensure they are able to answer all of these questions in an e-commerce platform without having personal interaction with the customer and potentially never having physical contact at all.
In the end, for the retailer selling a suit is a high touch, interactive process whether in person or online. Buying a suit should be an educational and fun process for the consumer. Following these models give both parties the best chance to enjoy the results.
Most Important Factors in buying a suit online (Consumer)
Expertise of retailer
Least Important Factors in buying a suit online (Consumer)
Trends in cuts/fits
Trends in colors/patterns
Most Important Factors in selling a suit online (Retailer)
Product visuals (video, fabrics, size/fit guide)
Least Important Factors in selling a suit online (Retailer)
Features on trends
About Image Granted: Founded by Grant Harris in 2009, Image Granted, LLC is a Washington, DC based menswear consultancy building business for corporations and closets for individuals through value based products and services. Better business…Better closets!
Style isn’t just about clothes. It’s about life. It’s about LIFEstyle. Through years of speaking, presenting, writing, and consulting with men of different ages, professions, cultural backgrounds, and wardrobe levels, Image Granted is the link between menswear and business in DC and beyond.
Image Granted is respected by industry authorities and integral part of the fashion community domestic and abroad. Grant has been featured in several international publications such as The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, CNN, AOL, Men’s Health and others. Mr. Harris is also a regular contributor to several men’s lifestyle resources. You can follow Image Granted on Twitter,Instagram and Facebook.