The Next Generation of Online Retail and Its Revolutionary Impact on the Fashion Industry
Have you ever had to have a pair of shoes and wondered where (and how quickly) you could get them? Instead of taking a surreptitious picture and searching endlessly in stores, try utilizing an online retail application such as Asap54. This app bridges the gap between what rivets your eyes and what you can buy by searching for the item online once you upload a picture to its database. Merchandisers who open online stores recognize that their success will only be enhanced by partnering with applications such as Asap54, and that such partnerships could exponentially increase traffic on their sites. Online shopping provides opportunities that simply are not available in physical stores. Therefore, traditional retailers, if they have not done so already, are likely to join the online retail revolution and embrace this new frontier.
Over the past decade or so, there has been a discernible shift in the retail market. Retailers have invested heavily in online sales given its ability to cut a wide swath and broaden the demographic range of consumers. Not only do online stores often have lower prices and incessant promotional sales (interestingly enough, impelling Google to create a separate tab for promotions), but they are also supremely convenient tools allowing consumers to purchase an entire wardrobe from the comfort of their couch. These benefits derive from lower overhead and an improved ability to determine demand for certain products. Online business models allow retailers to stock smaller amounts of more products, thus enhancing the retailer’s merchandise mix and ability to cater to a wide-range of styles.
The value of personalizing the shopping experience cannot be emphasized enough. With every click, online retailers gain invaluable information about a consumer’s penchant for fashion. Such information allows retailers to identify and recommend additional items that an individual shopper may want. In many respects, this is an ingenious method of facilitating repeat business as consumers will have yet another “must-have” item on their radar. In the past, shoppers relied upon the fashion know-how of in-store attendants to identify items that they would like; now, the omnichannel approach of utilizing online attendants, metadata and social applications increases the risk of blowing one’s credit-card limit without leaving home – much to the delight of retailers everywhere.
As any tried and true retail hawk would attest, finding chic retail merchandise, especially on the cheap, is one of those unrivalled and satisfying moments in a fashionista’s crusade to be in vogue. In the olden days (i.e. circa 2000) when brick and mortar retail shops were the only avenue –hardly on par with 5th Avenue abounding in swanky gear – where one could window-shop and purchase retail merchandise, one’s fashion choices were confined to what was in the stores at any given time. The dearth of variety among these stores’ merchandise mix and the potential for homogenous style among consumers caused fashionistas to whimper. Fortunately for fashionistas everywhere, online shopping has served as the white knight pacifying their woes and fears as they can keep abreast of the latest global trends without incurring the exorbitant costs of jetting to these global destinations. Every generation has advancements that seemingly change the way the game is played; it used to be clothing catalogues that walloped physical stores in terms of sales, then it was TV shopping, now the new frontier is mobile retail applications, which have opened consumers up to a whole new world of fashion choices, literally and figuratively, by providing consumers with innovative technology to find their newest prized possession.