The methods of shopping can range widely. It can be a simple self-service store where the consumer goes from counter to counter placing and picking out what he wants to purchase. If it is not a typical self-service store, and all traditional stores aren’t, then the store-assistant generally helps the consumer in locating what he needs.
In this modern consumer culture, however, there is another method of shopping that has emerged as a major force. Instead of simply presenting the shopper with an array of clothes, it provides the shopper with a variety of ways to organize his or her purchases. A shopper can organize his or her purchases by type, season, and so on. There are also departments within the store to help the shopper sort out the rest of the items. Department stores have long held a place for the “little guys,” the customers who couldn’t afford designer labels or the fancier clothes.
As technology has improved, the options available to the consumer have increased as well. In the early days of retail, it wasn’t uncommon for a customer to turn data on the computer and immediately make a purchasing decision. The advent of the social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made this process more interactive than ever before.
A shopper can go to his or her favorite social media site, such as Facebook, and check out pictures of the latest fashions, then write a short review about the item he or she purchased. Reviews are then published on the clothing retailer’s own website, giving customers an even greater opportunity to get involved in fashion. E-commerce websites are beginning to take advantage of this trend as well. Instead of having a boring static page for people to look at, e-commerce sites often use photos to let customers “interact” with the store. In addition to photos, shoppers can often “pin” pictures of particular pieces of clothing on a wall to share with friends.
As consumers become more engaged in online shopping, the trend toward more empowered consumers is also starting to develop. This is where a merchant sees the opportunity to sell more to those who aren’t necessarily fashion followers but who appreciate the finer things in life. A retailer may create a page on an e-commerce site that features reviews of fine clothing. When someone is browsing the site, she may come across a wristwatch for which she wants to buy but is unsure what she wants to buy. Rather than purchasing the watch without trying it on, she can click on one of the reviews of watches and read a detailed account about the watch and its qualities. Rather than turning to her phone to make a call to the store, she can simply read the reviews online and decide whether she wants to purchase the watch.
Shopping is taking on an even more on-trend meaning. Stores are finding that when they feature on-trend fashion pieces, they can draw in more customers. For example, a luxury boutique in Manhattan recently began offering a small, one-of-a-kind handbag called the Miraclo. The owner of the boutique, Sonia Uvezian, believes that most people appreciate a handbag that has a unique look and style. She sells a few different styles of handbags each season, and she feels that by offering one-of-a-kind items such as this bag, her shop will attract more customers. As with many things in our tech-savvy culture, the trend toward on-trend websites and trends is only likely to continue.