Source: Tekstilna Industrija


With the increasing rate of internet penetration Macedonian apparel manufacturers are granted the opportunity to increase their retailing potential by embracing a new retail channel. The purpose of this research is to identify appropriate and distinct segments of potential internet consumers, to allow apparel retailers to develop efficient and effective online strategies for the local Macedonian market. To address the question a paper based survey was conducted, on a target population of frequent internet users. Factor analysis and cluster analysis were used to obtain a three-cluster solution, tested by a discriminant analysis (98.5 per cent score). The two potential internet apparel shoppers segments were characterized by higher perceived usefulness of online shopping, and efficient shopping orientation; while they differed regarding their previous experience with online shopping, apparel purchasing expenditure and age. The third and largest segment consisted of consumers highly involved with apparel products, with strong recreational shopping orientation, hesitant to buy local apparel online.


Introduction


Retailing on the Internet started as early as 1990, went through the turbulent phase of the dot com bubble on the turn of the millennia, and emerged as a viable retail strategy for a number of products, including apparel. However, on the emerging South-East European markets e-retail is yet to be established. Macedonia is a typical example of a market where internet penetration is relatively high, still in 2009 only 2% of the population had purchased goods or services via the Internet, according to Eurostat [1], of which none purchased apparel products. In comparison, in 2009 the EU 15 average of online purchases was 33% of all individuals, of which 19% purchased apparel. Furthermore, Macedonia has a well developed apparel industry searching for appropriate manners to retail their products. As a cost-efficient method of retailing, which can connect the manufacturers with consumers without any intermediaries e-retail is an option apparel manufacturers can pursue in order to develop their retail network. However, any marketing strategy, including e-retail strategies, has to pay attention to the consumer. In the case of e-retail strategies, where the consumer is able to terminate the online transaction at any given point, consumer knowledge grows in importance. Thus, the purpose of this research is to identify appropriate and distinct segments of potential internet consumers to allow apparel retailers to develop efficient and effective online strategies for the local Macedonian market.



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Originally published in Tekstilna Industrija March 2011



Mag. Elena Tomovska is associated with University "Ss. Cyril and Methodius", Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, Institute of textiles, Ruger Boskovic bb., 1000 Skopje, Macedonia and Prof. Dr. Sao Josimovski & Prof. Dr. Kalina Trenevska Blagoeva are with University "Ss. Cyril and Methodius", Faculty of Economics, School of E-business, Krste Misirkov bb, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia.