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The Retail, Customer Care Roundup for February, 2016

The recent news reveals changing environments for internet retailers and the fashion industry, from an ironic Amazon.com move to faster fashion for the likes of Burberry and Tom Ford and changing consumer habits. Accounts of interest in retail and customer service news this month in the past week include:
Shopping becomes more alluring to men
Shopping for new fashion at trendy retailers isn’t just for women anymore, the Wall Street Journal says. Men are becoming increasingly more active in shopping for fashion, prompted in part by the Web and social media.
Where men once may have grudgingly shopped seasonally a couple times a year, they’re becoming more interested in cutting edge fashion, in what’s available at the fast fashion shops and buying more on impulse, the newspaper says. Men are checking fashion and retail websites more frequently as well.
Back to the Future: Amazon taps brick-and-mortar market
Online giant Amazon.com is expanding clicks to bricks, planning to open Amazon.com bookstores in as many as 10 major markets, Internet Retailer reported. The stores are expected to follow the model of Amazon’s Seattle bookstore that opened last fall, although they’ll be smaller, according to the magazine’s source.
Amazon.com wouldn’t comment on the report, telling Internet Retailer the Seattle store was the only one publicly announced. That store, representing a company that moved the book market online, sells books chosen in part by Amazon.com customer reviews as well as merchandise including e-readers.
Online sales growing, spurred by mobile use
Forrester Research predicts U.S. online sales will grow 56 percent in the next five years, driven in part by use of mobile devices, Internet Retailer reported.
Sales are forecast to grow to $523 billion by 2020 from $335 billion this year, at an average annual rate of slightly more than 9 percent. The number of shoppers buying on their mobile devices, including phones and tablets, is expected to rise to 270 million in five years from 244 million in 2015.
Fashion direct to consumer
Two collections challenged traditional fashion, by announcing recently that they’ll make their fashions available direct to the consumer immediately after they appear on the runway, according to WWD. Starting in September, both Burberry and Tom Ford are bucking the fashion structure, which traditionally sees fashion goods go on sale four months after the runway show.

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