Industry Trends

The 5 Biggest Pain Points of Buying Handbags Online (And What You Can Do About Them)

February 22, 2023

A handbag might be one of the most important accessories a customer will ever purchase. As such, they want to be absolutely certain they make the right choice when it comes to buying one. Unfortunately, if they're shopping for handbags on an online store, that's often easier said than done. 

All they have to go on is product reviews, the retailer's claims, and a few product photos. Sometimes they aren't even that lucky — they have to make do with a static, non-interactive product page. This leaves them to judge for themselves whether or not a bag is the right look, feel, and size.

All too often, they only realize a product isn't right for them after they've made a purchase, leaving you to facilitate the returns process. 

And that's not even getting into designer handbags, which can cost upwards of several hundred — or even several thousand — dollars. As a retailer, you must do everything in your power to ensure that your customers are comfortable purchasing handbags from you. That starts with understanding their frustrations. 

Here are the five biggest pain points of buying handbags online.

#1 Uncertain Sizing

Different customers have different wants and needs where their handbag is concerned. In some cases, all they're looking for is a convenient place to store their wallet and phone while on the go. Other people are going to need something beefier, a bag capable of storing everything from medication to laptops or tablets.

When visiting a brick-and-mortar outlet, it's easy to tell at a glance which handbags will and will not work from a size perspective. This is not the case online. Even if a retailer claims that a particular handbag design will match a particular customer's size requirements, customers may be unwilling to take them at their word.  

#2 Finding the Right Style Match

Another area where a gulf exists between physical retail and digital retail is the fact that online, you can't try on a handbag that's caught your eye. You have no way of knowing whether or not it's comfortable, or how well it goes with your overall sense of style. And while this is something that can, at least in part, be hammered out with product photos, many customers will still prefer seeing how a product looks on their person. 

And if there's no way for them to do that with your company, they'll likely either go to a physical outlet or find their way to a competitor with a stronger presence and better approach compared to yours. 

#3 A Question of Authenticity

As you may or may not know, fraud is an enormous problem in the handbag industry. Counterfeit versions of well-known luxury brands are almost more numerous online than the brands themselves. Particularly with higher-end handbags, customers frequently have no way of knowing for certain if something is counterfeit or if it's the genuine article. 

As noted by brand protection specialist Red Points, this issue is especially prevalent on social networks. In a recent survey, the company found that roughly 23 percent of respondents had purchased a handbag via social media or group post — and more than half indicated that they would consider it. Research published by the International Trademark Association (INTA) in 2019 found that nearly 79 percent of Generation Z customers had, at some point, purchased a counterfeit product online. 

This isn't just a matter of differentiating between counterfeits and legitimate products, either. A particularly unscrupulous retailer might pull out all the stops to trick their unsuspecting customers, from misleading product photos to fake reviews. Today's consumers are increasingly aware of this fact, and increasingly less willing to take claims about a product on faith. 

#4 Lack of In-Store Assistance

Another way the online shopping experience for handbags tends to fall short of brick-and-mortar retail involves sales staff. When someone buys a handbag from an outlet such as Nordstrom, for instance, they can flag down an employee to answer any questions they might have. This is a bit more challenging to achieve in an online context. 

And it's an area where many brands fumble or outright drop the ball. From obnoxious chat popups to low-quality chatbots, even finding someone to help can be an exercise in frustration. Moreover, even though web chat is convenient, it's still no substitute for in-person assistance. 

#5 No Concept of Look and Feel

When a customer purchases an accessory like a handbag, they're interested in the bag's size or appearance. They also want to know that the bag is comfortable to use. They want to see things such as materials and design quality for themselves rather than simply reading reviews and looking at images. \

Unfortunately, there's very little that can be done to address this pain point — virtual and augmented reality simply aren't advanced enough. Your best bet as a retailer is to ensure you offer a generous return policy coupled with free shipping. That way, even if a handbag ends up being uncomfortable or ill-fitting, the customer can return it without much hassle. 

Creating a Better Online Shopping Customer Experience for Handbags

Many of the pain points described above can be addressed simply through better web design, improved online security, and brand protection. They're common challenges in the retail space, and the industry's had a lot of time to perfect its approach to solving them. The lack of interactivity and engagement when comparing digital to physical is an exception to the rule. 

And that's where Tangiblee comes in. Leveraged by some of the world's top brands, our immersive shopping and augmented reality solutions allow your customers to not only visualize the exact size of a handbag, but also compare that bag to other products and even see how it might look on their person. 

It's exactly what your business needs to bridge the gap between online shopping and in-person retail. 

To learn more about how Tangiblee can help, schedule a free demo today.

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