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Online sellers should follow fashion for best results


Fashion retailers are becoming more sophisticated at online marketing and encouraging more customers to spend at their sites.

Online clothing retailers are persuading more visitors to spend than any other sector  – with one in every 15 browsers buying from their shops. This boost for clothing retailers was revealed in web sales figures for July, that were 15.7% up in the month at £4.2 billion compared with June, says retail research group IMRG Capgemini.

"It is evident that online merchants are becoming more sophisticated in their marketing efforts and e-mail communications to their customers, the result of which can be seen in higher conversion rates, particularly in the clothing sector," said Tina Spooner, of IMRG. 

In May, the Office of Fair Trading said that almost a third of internet users were not shopping online because they did not trust the system.  Many of the users voiced personal security was high on their list of concerns when shopping on the web.

The figures show clothing retailers are bucking the trend and making shoppers feel safe to part with their money and personal details online. 

With sales up 17% year on year, the IMRG Capgemini clothing index continues to outperform the overall e-retail market with an average of 20% year-on-year growth to date during 2009.

The highest rating online clothing retailers are Marks and Spencer and Next, according to IMRG Capgemini. Followed by Topshop, River Island and New Look.

The next growth sector for online sales was for electrical items, where spending in July rose by 11% compared with June. 

The group fears many online retailers will suffer a drop in sales when the government moves to close the Channel Island VAT loophole that allows UK online firms to avoid charging customers VAT when low value products like DVD and CD are shipped from distribution centres mainly on Guernsey. 

This move is expected to knock sales at Amazon, Play.com and HMV – soon after HMV has invested in a large distribution centre on Guernsey.


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