Will the 'Try and Buy' model give eRetailers an edge over offline retail?

The model was first incepted by some leading online marketplaces such as UrbanLadder, Lenskart and Caratlane etc., but now it's been widely picked by eRetailers across the segments of retail including fashion.
Try and Buy Service

With the changing consumer demand and expectation, it has now become very important for retailers to communicate the value of their products to their customers. Retail ecosystem, with the change in consumer behaviour, has become a sporadic business. Talking about the online retail landscape, this sporadic approach has become way more dynamic and essential. Online retailers of the country has always been very prompt and immediate in serving the customers with the best ever shopping experience which offline retailers are still struggling. Understand the changing needs of customers and serving them is not at all an easy ballgame altogether.

Understanding 'Try and Buy'
Online retailer, over that past 5 years, have surely taken the cue and are exponentially bagging the maximum pie of overall retail of the country. Experimenting with the business models every now and then has become the DNA of eCommerce players and fortunately it has splurged their graphs. With the advent of models such as Virtual 3D stores, dark stores, 14 days return policy, same day delivery, social commerce etc., these eRetailers have successfully gained consumer’s trust in online shopping. To add to the list, the new model called ‘Try and Buy’ has also become a rage in consumers. The model was first incepted by some leading online marketplaces such as UrbanLadder, Lenskart and Caratlane etc., but now it’s been widely picked by eRetailers across the segments of retail including fashion. Clear from the word, Try and buy is a sales model that gives consumers the option to try and product before purchasing it. If a consumer, after trying the product, is not satisfied with it can always return the product. The model is now widely getting expanded into clothing and other lifestyle segments.

Recently online shopping portal Myntra has announced the introduction of the ‘try and buy’ services in order to bring in the only feature that differentiated eCommerceand brick-and-mortar retailing. The newly rolled service offers consumers the privilege of trying the products such as apparel, footwear and accessories before making a purchase.

Commenting upon the same, Myntra’s Co-founder Ashutosh Lawania said that the try and buy is an essential step towards offering consumers hassle free online shopping experience and encouraging more offline buyers to shop online. This new concept will open up online fashion to a whole new section of buyers.

Making online shopping hassle free
No doubt retail potential of the country is unmatched. Evolving consumers and their increasing disposable income has allowed them to spend a little extra on segments like fashion, electronics etc. eCommerce has always betted on this, but one big reason that made consumers sceptical towards online shopping and that is the touch and feel factor. Driven by the traditional shopping methodology, consumers always prefer to touch and feel the product before buying it especially when it comes to clothes, jewellery, shoes etc. This was the only lope hole in eCommerce retailing that kept offline retailers a step ahead in the competition. Now with the advent and success of try and buy model across marketplaces of the country, online retail has surely got the game back in their hands. Considering the lack of retail experience in online shopping, it is apparent that eCommerce marketplaces are leaving no stones unturned to trounce the gap.

Is the model feasible in the long run?
Taking the above mentioned facts and advancements to the next level, the only question that arises here is on the feasibility of this model on a larger scale. As of now the try and buy model has been adopted by players catering to a particular segment. For example Myntra, which is a fashion-centric online portal or Lenskart that is all focused towards eyewear and related accessories. Now imagine the same services, being practised by a larger online marketplace such as Flipkart or Amazon. As these players cater to wider segment and is open to customers from every nook and corner of the country, the services might be taken for granted. Stocking up inventories across their network available in the country is the second big reason why the model will fail for larger online retailers.

If we look back at the time eCommerce was incepted in the country, it was targeted only for the upper class consumers for the sale of books. The model then evolved into various other categories and now targets the entire mass. Same is the case with try and buy model. It might take some time to get into the mainstream as it needs a seamless supply chain and inventory network Pan India. 

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