WWD: Are you surprised that more fashion brands have not yet started selling direct to their customers online?
Evie Black Dykema, senior analyst, online retail, Forrester Research: “It’s no shocker that high-fashion firms are moving online more slowly than the rest of the market. Crafting a high-end image, and convincing consumers that they have never looked better than in a particular designer’s clothes, is the key to their business model. It is currently impossible to do this online, since whiz-bang animation like that featured on armaniexchange.com, for example, merely frustrates consumers.
“Designers following the demise of the dot-coms are even less excited about the online medium. But they are missing an opportunity. Although the high-fashion experience can only be delivered through brick-and-mortar stores, Web sites can help drive store traffic and optimize the value of a store visit.
“Already, lizclaiborne.com has learned that enabling consumers to schedule appointments with personal shoppers in the store results in higher sales per customer: The sales clerk has time to prepare for the meeting, and the consumer walks into the store, ready to buy.”