The emergence of relationship-based retailing – a perspective from the fashion sector

Luciano Batista, Irene Ng

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Challenging the sceptical view that consumers would not buy apparel and accessories without feeling the fabric and testing for size and look, online fashion sales is growing fast. Yet, the myriad of recent business model developments in the sector depicts a disorderly environment lacking frameworks and typologies to facilitate understanding and explain different business propositions. In this paper, we report the preliminary findings of a work-in-progress study being developed in the fashion retail sector. Initial analysis showed a regular presence of relationship-based functionalities in current business models emerged in the electronic fashion retailing context. It is also possible to notice a widespread adoption of relationship-based functionalities across different business models in the sector. The models are presented under a conceptual framework developed to support and facilitate understanding of the core functionalities they implement. Furthermore, the study also identified click-and-mortar initiatives where fashion retailers integrate online relationship-based functionalities into their conventional brick-and-mortar operations. An interesting aspect observed in the study is the augmented scope of the relationships that fashion retailers are now able to explore. This is mainly due to the positioning of customers’ social networks into the retailers’ reach by the customers themselves, who now have easy access to their social contacts from the online, and sometimes in-store, environments they are interacting with.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
EventOxford Retail Futures Conference - New Technologies, Business Models and Customer Experience - Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Dec 201211 Dec 2012


ConferenceOxford Retail Futures Conference - New Technologies, Business Models and Customer Experience
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • social web
  • online retail
  • digital technology
  • business models
  • CRM

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