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With faster and cheaper delivery, ecommerce is increasingly winning the war against brick and mortar shops. It offers consumers more choice, better discounts and helpful reviews, and all from the comfort of their home. With mobile commerce, they can even access it all on the go too.

But there’s one area that, in the past, ecommerce has come up second best. Quite simply, people want to see, touch and try products before they hand over their hard-earned cash.

So, what’s the answer? Should your ecommerce store provide a ‘try before you buy’ service?

The growth of ecommerce

While traditional retail continues to struggle and with shop closures commonplace on some high streets, ecommerce sales have kept up their continued growth. By removing the costs of physical stores and staff, ecommerce acts as a more sustainable option for merchants.

Research suggests online sales grew by over 20% in 2017, meaning they now represent around 10% of total retail sales worldwide. But the figures still indicate that the vast majority of customers are choosing to shop in store. Why? According to the TimeTrade State of Retail Report, some customers don’t like waiting for items to ship, while others like to receive advice on what they should purchase.

Faster shipping and customer reviews, along with the advent of live web chat, are slowly tackling these issues for ecommerce merchants. However, most customers that prefer shopping in-store say it’s because they want to touch and feel products before buying.

Try before you buy

So, how can ecommerce merchants make up for the lack of physical testing on their online stores? At the end of 2017, Asos launched their ‘try before you buy’ service, to do exactly that. Essentially, customers can order products they want to try, which are sent out like a normal order, then send back anything they don’t want after trying.

It’s similar to what many consumers already do, in what’s become known as ‘returns culture’. The difference? With ‘try before you buy’, Asos allows you to pay later, so you only pay for what you want to keep after you have tried it. Rather than spending £300 then waiting for a £240 refund, customers will simply pay £60.

Promising results 

Try before you buy is clearly something that appeals to modern consumers, with Asos sales rising by 23% at the end of 2017. Along with Boohoo, another online-only retailer, they have gained significant market share from traditional retailers such as M&S and Next, who experienced a disappointing Christmas period.

And it’s something that’s appealing to other retailers too. Online lingerie retailers La Perla have started their own ‘try and buy’ service, while US-based True&Co also offers customers a five day period with their ‘Try-On Program’, in which they can decide whether they want to purchase and pay for any of the products.

Ahead of the pack 

With something as dynamic as ecommerce, it’s essential for businesses to keep up with the latest trends and stay ahead of the competition. Bing Digital helps you do exactly that. We are Magento ecommerce experts, with a wide-ranging portfolio of stunning ecommerce sites. Quite simply, we keep you at the top of the pile, attracting traffic and converting visitors into sales. Contact our team today to discuss your project – we can’t wait to hear from you!

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