When the prom season approaches, many girls start looking for the most beautiful dresses that fit them the best from many different places. It can be retail stores or online prom dresses shopping malls. Which place has the best price and quality for a buyer convenience and budget?
Online shopping is a new trend since 2000. The annual growth rate is 11% every year. Traditionally, all girls have shopped for dresses at wedding shops, dress specialty stores, or department stores. They tried on the dresses and compared prices and styles. However, this traditional trend has rapidly changed. Here, I would like to analyze the merits and weak points of online and offline dress buying with a price comparison.
Before you decide to buy a dress, you will need to know the basic price structure of the dress. The true cost of a dress does not mean anything until all the expenses added before it can be sold to the customer as a retail price. Most physical stores have high extras such as the rent, employees wages, utilities, insurance, etc. Those sums add up to at a least 30% increase from the original dress cost, which is from either the manufacturer or a wholesale store. For example, if the original dress cost is $100, the expenses would be around $30, so you are paying $130 for a $100 dress. Prom dresses are seasonal products from mid-March to before July, so business activity is confined to about half of the year. We need to add this seasonal factor into the retail prices. So, if the owner wants to pursue a 30% profit, the retail price will be $338 (Original cost $100 ?expenses 30% ?seasonal factor 200% ?profit 30%.) This calculation is totally hypothetical but also realistic. It can be vary per stores by stores. You may feel that retail prices are a bit higher and cannot be justified. However, if we carefully observe the nature of the prom dress business the profit margin is not that much because it is not spread out for the entire year. The pure profit of $338 dress is only about $39.
Compared to the offline dress stores, online dress stores have much less overheads. First of all, they are not physical retail stores, so they do not need to have pay rent. Less space needed, less employees, less burden on liability insurance, less maintenance cost compared to the physical stores add up to less overall expenses. Also, the strong point of an online store is its versatility of inventory. They can carry any product they want to sell, so can be less seasonal and have fewer inventories need to carry. If the dress cost is $100, the final retail price on the Internet mall will be around $220 (Original cost $100 ?expenses 15% ?seasonal factor 50% ?profit 30%.) The pure profit of $220 dress will be $52. Here we do not add extra expenses such as technical outsourcing cost, Internet advertising cost, etc, so the actual profit per dress will be decreased after those expenses are applied.
Everyone agrees that price is cheaper on the Internet. However, there are other factors you need to consider such as the availability of a dress, quality, design, etc. You can verify stock availability at the physical stores and online by simply calling them and asking. The main weakness of dress buying on the Internet is it lacks your immediate inspection on the dress by not allowing you to touch and see in front of you before you buy it. You are the person who must see the dress, and then you drive to the store and buy it. This is a great idea. Conversely, if you want to save time and gas, and would like to pay less money for your dress, you may want to try to buy it online. Many online stores provide you high quality customer services and a reasonable return policy. All transactions can be done by their merchant account. This can protect you from being hacked for your financial information.
You can buy great dresses from any place, but the trend is shifting from traditional dress shopping to the virtual stores that we all agree will continue as long as shoppers are looking for lower prices for their dresses.