The Digital, Interactive High Street
Welcome to the Digital Generation, where the high street exists in your phone and models are at your beck and call. Take a look at some hot trends in the world of fashion and technology and prepare to be amazed. It’s retailing, but not as we know it…
Magtailing, apptailing, etailing, augmented reality and interactive catalogues are the contemporary culture’s answer to a mooch around the shops, or drawing up carefully selected wishlists from mail order catalogues. A teenage me would have been astounded; in fact, a thirties me still is.
Imagine throwing models around on the page, or watching a film and being able to order the clothes they are wearing as you watch. Well, now you can. Brands have cottoned on to the fact that Generation D, the plugged in, hyper-connected audience from 18-28, love to see moving images. They need instant access to goods, they multi task online and have a short attention span honed from years of instant access to information, visuals and social networking. In short, see it, love it, click on it, wear it.
Jaime Perlman, art director of British Vogue, sees a future where more brands use video content to sell on the web; “There are more possibilities in showing clothes moving”. Sites like ASOS and YOOX already offer the ability to view clothes from a variety of angles, zooming in and almost walking around the items in a virtual space to “try” before you buy.
Diesel took this a step further and harnessed the youth culture power of YouTube for their Spring Summer 2010 collection, allowing consumers to buy into the brand image further by seeing how the garments look when they move, albeit on the bodies of über-gorge models. All must nicer on the self esteem than a sweaty, badly lit changing room in any case.
Hauling is the contemporary youth culture swap shop on YouTube, where broadcasting is being gazumped by “narrow casting”, and brands are moving towards the moving image as traction for their wares to keep up with the trends in consumer culture. Wrangler give us the ability to mobilise the models ourselves, and to zoom into a 3-d view of the image collection, download images and of course to share the items on Facebook and Twitter, the all important social platforms on which we conduct our online lives.
Apptailing allows consumers to access their favourite stores via a smart phone; although many high street stores have an app to enable users to browse collections, trend leaders Net-A-Porter sells items through it’s own mobile app, paving the way for more to follow. Over in the beauty world applications such as MakeUp and NewBeauty have been turning smartphones into smart virtual compacts by using photo recognition technology which enables users to test colours and shades on photos of themselves.
Augmented reality retailing introduces the concept of trying on items of clothing, virtually. Goldrun is being used by H&M in New York to play an interactive game whereby shoppers have to hunt down and find looks by taking pictures on their phones. Taking part also gives the users a discount of 10% on their purchases in store, combining an urban gaming approach with the bottom line of cash registers.
The high street continues to evolve and mutate as technology advances closer to a Minority Report-esque future scape. Expect to see a resurgence in customer service and personal shopping culture as an antithesis to the online retail world.
As technology alters with lightening speed, the hyperreality of retail is a a revolving door of possibilities between cyberspace and the space outside of online we used to know as reality.
This post originally appeared on Bitch Buzz here.