October 17, 2019

Where are all the men's online fashion stores?

There is a lack of men’s online clothing stores in New Zealand, according to retailers.


Despite Kiwis spending $4.2 Billion dollars a year online in 2018, men’s fashion labels appear reluctant to venture in cyberspace.


Matthew Staijen, a manager at Barkers, one of New Zealand’s biggest men’s clothing retailers said there’s a real lack of online options for men.


Staijen said that shopping online is a lot more popular now than it once was, and this is causing a real demand for more digital stores for men.


Barkers has had an online store for years and makes an average of $14,000 a week from in-store purchases.Web sales are more varied throughout the week, and an exact number is hard to estimate. Staijen said that the online market makes the job easier, as well as harder.  


“It can substitute a customer coming in, or it can aid them. I’ve had customers come in with printouts of their checkouts online, so that makes my job a lot easier,”he said.


Barkers’ ‘click and collect’ allows customers to order online and collect their clothing in store.This system can make it difficult for salespeople.


“Unless you know your sizes, many people will order online and collect it, then come back into the store a few days later as the clothes didn’t fit correctly, so that makes it a lot harder,” Staijen said.


“It is hard for men, and as salespeople, as we want to try and please both sides of our market, whether that is online or in-store customers.”


Barker’s employee Sam Dobbs said there is a distinct difference between the type of people of who people shop online and in store.


“We have been around since 1972, so we have a lot of old-fashioned customers that aren’t up to date with technology, so they do prefer to come into store. Then we have the other side of the spectrum where people are up to date and prefer to shop online,” Dobbs said.


On a personal level, Dobbs said he doesn’t attempt to shop online as he has noted the lack of options available for men.


“Many of the clothing websites that sell women’s styles as well as men’s are made with cheap material and aren’t ethical in any way, so why would I want to buy them?” he said.


Libby Young,the owner of a small women’s boutique store in Taupo, said that she sees the demand and need for more men’s online stores.


“There are so many women’s online stores, and this could be solely down to people just assuming that women shop online more than men. Although my store is strictly women’s clothing, being in the business I see the demand for more options for men,” Young said.


Young said shops are limited around New Zealand, so having more online retailers for men would provide more options.


“There are so many different types of people, some may like coming into stores, and some may not, but with there being a shortage of retailers, it forces men to seek clothing in a way that may inconvenient.”