Online shopping has EXPLODED over the past five years –we can even shop on the go with our phones. While Aussies are still reluctant to get on board with online shopping for some everyday items like groceries (although that may just be a trust issue – no one wants to get stuck with meat that expires the very next day!) other items just seem intuitive to buy online. In 2016 alone, Australians collectively spent $4.1 billion dollars on clothing and shoes – that’s a lot of new outfits!
Since clothing is non-perishable, easy to ship and subject to a lot of personal preference that may have people snubbing their local brick-and-mortar stores, it makes sense that it was the 4th most popular thing for Aussies to buy online last year. Not to mention that if you need a specialty fit such as tall, short, plus or petite, online shopping can feel like your only option because most physical stores just don’t deliver the goods you need. Other Aussies just may not have the time to go shopping or they may not have access to the shopping they want in their area.
However, it’s not simply a matter of necessity or convenience that has seen online shopping soar in popularity. Online retailers have been rapidly innovating and improving their services to provide their customers with the best experience possible. Let’s take a look at how shopping for clothes online has evolved over recent years – it goes a lot deeper than just free shipping and returns!
Half the fun of getting a new outfit is showing it off, so it makes sense that fashion retailers would hop on board social media in a big way. Most brands have their own social media accounts to engage with their customers, including likes and shares on photos featuring their merchandise. You may even get a chance to be featured on their websites, such as online retail giant ASOS’s AsSeenOnMe hashtag.
For shopping on the go, retailers now give you the option to sign up for notifications or download their own app onto your phone. An email or SMS to let you know that a new collection is in or a sale just started will bring the shop back to the front of your mind, and it doesn’t even ‘feel’ like an advertisement. If the shop hadn’t let you know that there was a 50% off sale on, you might not have bought anything at all for months (not that we’re complaining – who doesn’t love a good sale?).
Getting advice from the pros
Whether you just want a boost to your own style skills or you’re ready to surrender to someone who knows what they’re doing, fashion consultancy is a growing industry that’s starting to innovate around online services. Even more traditional image consultants are getting on board and offering products that don’t require face-to-face meetings, such as the personalised style guide from The Style Agency.
Ladies; if you’re curious about dipping your toe in the water with these kinds of services, you should give Birdsnest Style Guide a whirl. All you do is sign up, fill out a short questionnaire and you’ll be emailed a free, personal style guide to help you dress better. You’ll also receive weekly recommendations for outfits and you can choose to buy any items you like through their online store. It’s a convenient service that most stores will no doubt be looking to adopt over the coming years.
Kent and Lime takes this approach one step further for menswear by sending out curated boxes with a selection of trendy threads to try on. You pay for the items you want to keep and send back anything you don’t like. There’s a shipping cost involved but if you want to look sharp for a big event, it’s a great option to get stylish without having to hunt through the shops.
What the future holds
Naturally, one the biggest shortfalls with online shopping for clothes is that you can’t easily try the item on before you buy like you’d be able to if you were to walk into a store. Thankfully, someone already has an answer for this! One of the ways the industry is looking to address this is through the use of augmented reality software to superimpose clothes onto photos or digital models of you.
Zugara is a company that develops virtual dressing room technology for both online and offline fashion retailers. Their web-based services make use of your webcam so you can ‘try on’ clothes in the comfort of your own home. You might have already encountered something similar with Snapchat filters that put makeup or a pair of sunglasses on you and keep it in place even when you move in a video. While this won’t let you know if garments are a good fit, it can help you get a better idea of what you might look like wearing them – not to mention that it makes online shopping a bit more fun!
Do you shop more online than you used to? Let us know your top online shopping tips in the comments.