Impact of Online Shopping to the Clothes Industry, Retail Stores and the Environment

The way of shopping has drastically changed in the past few decades. Initially, you would walk into a store, make purchases and leave for home. Today most services have been taken online, where you could search for the item needed, make an order and payment, and have the items delivered to your house. Top Pakistani brands are now found online with very few stores availing them.

Buying online is however not as green as it appears to be. It has impacted both the general clothes industry, the local retail stores and the environment in so many ways, both negative and positive.

In this article we focus on the impact online cloth shopping has caused on the three fields:

Clothes Industry

Shorter and Dependable Lead Times- initially, retailers would have to travel for miles to get clothes. Most materials and services were outsourced. In case you needed to purchase shalwar kameez and your state did not produce them, you had to make orders and wait for up to a month to have it delivered.

Pakistani clothes

More orders- online shopping has improved sales in the sense that more orders are made today, with lots of clothes being sold each day. More people are getting into online shopping, causing growth and developments to the online clothes industry.

Channel Restructuring- traditionally, the channel used in distributing clothes was so long that the prices were high. With the introduction of online shopping, the channel of distribution has been restructured and it is now shorter, minimizing the cost.

Retail Stores

Decreased Customer Loyalty- initially, if you wanted to buy a certain piece of cloth, you’d just walk into a store and make purchases. Some people had specific stores from which they would buy, while stores had specific customers who could always purchase from them. Introduction of online shopping has robbed the stores of these customers as they no longer purchase from them as frequently as they did before.

Online reviews have also negatively impacted customer loyalty. People search for items online, get the description and the price, then walk to the departmental stores with conclusion made and expecting the clothes in those stores to meet the online standards provided.

Difficulty of Small Retail Stores to Enter Online Market- the competition in online marketing is so high that small retail stores find it difficult to join. A store specialized in selling kurtior unstitched clothes may find it difficult to compete with one that has other clothes of a higher quality.


Increased Landfill- the main function of online stores is delivery of items to customers. By purchasing online, you are not in a position to fit the clothes, so the service providers will have to bring several packages for you to fit in. Once you’ve chosen the best one, the rest are returned. Since most companies have no time to clean and repackage these clothes, they dispose them off resulting into landfills.

Increased Carbon Footprint- online stores make several trips each day as they deliver various items to different customers. In case of returned goods or if by any chance someone has made more than two orders at different times, delivery will have to be made in effect to the two times. This increases the amount of carbon emitted hence affecting the environment.

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