In recent months we have seen a real boom in online shopping. A new consumer experience, undoubtedly super convenient, not only because it allows us to receive our purchases without leaving home, but also for the wide variety of products available, often at cheaper prices. It’s nice to shop online, but when the long-awaited package finally arrives, are we really satisfied? Too big, too small, poor material, wrong color: the epic fail of online shopping is just around the corner. Who hasn’t browsed the galleries and noticed some “must-have products” at bargain prices? Sometimes doubts assails us: “Nice shoes, but how would they look on me? Will the material be of good quality? Will they last over time, or will I throw them away after just one season?” These uncertainties often lead us to make careful choices and to buy only on sites with certain guarantees. Sometimes, however, we decide to trust, buying from online stores that we had never heard of before. And the outcome, in some cases, is a real disaster!

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The problem does not depend on our skills as an online shopper, but on the lack of information from the store we are relying on. To understand if e-commerce provides enough information about the products for sale, we decided to ask the people of the Internet, specifically of Instagram. The answer was loud and clear: no! It makes no difference whether you live in the UK, Ireland, Italy or Germany: when shopping online, consumers want more information about the materials products are made of.

The results are displayed below:

DO ONLINE STORES PROVIDE ENOUGH INFORMATION ABOUT PRODUCT MATERIALS?

The search for more information is therefore a real need. Consumers have become more sensitive and aware of their purchases. The online shopping experience is very different from the in-store one: you can only see the product in pictures, you can’t touch it and you cannot smell it. The consumer must therefore rely on images (which, as many people have experienced, do not always tell the truth) and to a non-exhaustive list of information. Choose any e-commerce platform you want: you will immediately notice that the details provided are not enough to make a fully informed purchase.

Often features such as the size or the material used are missing. For example, if we knew that one leather sole is breathable and prevents the minor electric shocks typical of some synthetic materials, wouldn’t we prefer to buy that shoe instead of another one? Imagine to be given the information that a bag is in faux leather (which essentially means “plastic material similar to leather in the mere appearance”)and therefore it’s not made in true leather: it would be a very different purchase, wouldn’t it? 

Let’s take an example: shoes. Leaving aside the difficulty of getting the right number, shoe retailers often don’t even distinguish real leather from fake leather, filtering them into a single large group of shoes that don’t look like being made of different materials. Especially in this category, the lack of information is big: “Is the sole wide or narrow? In rubber or leather? What is the measure between the neck of the boot and the ankle?” Being able to answer these questions is not trivial, it is a key point for the consumer. The size of a pair of shoes is not only the number but also the shape of the heel, the width of the foot, the height of the sole.

In addition to the material itself, another extremely important information that is often ignored is the way in which these materials have been treated. The leather, for example, can be tanned with vegetable tannins or chromium salts. And the difference is very important.

Tanning, by definition, is the process of transformation that allows you to turn hides and skins into finished products that gain resistance over time. The vegetable tanning process is 100% natural, because it uses natural substances called tannins, extracted from plants with eco-sustainable methods and able to impart unique qualities to the leather, including resistance, durability, pleasant touch, softness and the characteristic “wood-scent”. On the contrary, chromium tanning requires the use of chromium salts, which could cause allergies in particularly sensitive individuals. Therefore, when buying a product, it is important to know both from which material it was made of and how it was treated.

In conclusion, a small tip for those who sell and resell online: add valuable details about the materials and the beneficial effects they add to your products. For example, thanks to tannins, vegetable-tanned leather is breathable, natural and durable. Keep it in mind! 😉

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