Retail may not be so great right now but it’s about to get better!
I don’t particularly enjoy shopping like I use to back when I was a teen. Perhaps I am jaded because I work closely with retail innovation (I’ve seen what the future holds), but I pretty much view shopping as a chore. I don’t like going into malls and I don’t really want to try on clothing although I want to know how it fits. My view on online shopping is only slightly better. I have go-to stores that I browse but often, the immense catalogues are overwhelming and the question of “will if fit” (more appropriately, what’s the fabric and does it stretch) often deters me altogether from making a purchase. When I do shop for new products it’s almost always based on direct recommendations from friends and indirect recommendations from research. Either way I rely heavily on my peers.
Thankfully, retail is evolving with people like me in mind through peer -2-peer interaction shopping platforms. This is great news for consumers but challenging for retailers who need to adopt new strategies for engaging the customer online through platforms. I am predicting that peer based platform shopping will dominate retail in the very near future.
So why are peer to peer interactions so important? The simple answer is: The majority of apparel consumers shopping online are very much like teenagers.
In this scenario, brands and big retailers are seemingly the out-of-touch parent. These parents have great things to offer and would like to spend time with their teens, but as well all know, in the eyes of the teenager, parents “aren’t cool and just don’t understand”. For the teen, the less time a they spend with their parents, the better. The angst filled teen (modern consumer) would much rather take the advice of and spend time with their peers over their “just don’t get me” parents. Brands sometimes don’t fully understand the needs of their customers online. For more information on this topic request my study.
Without getting into the psychology of group dynamics or the teenage brain, it can be understood that the influence of peers is far greater than any other influence when shopping online. Hence why platforms allowing peer influence and social shopping in the virtual world, are the best ways to connect the customer to the product and the future of retail. The idea of shopping individual stores blindly on the vast internet without direct need fulfillment, peer direction or social interaction is just not ideal for the modern consumer.
Translating the brand presence and experience into these platforms will prove to be most beneficial for long term success.
Peer Based Platforms for You!
Below I have compiled a list of a current peer based platforms to watch out for (in no particular order) helping to shape retail:
|Befitted||Interaction with peers who share the same body shape and type. See what they are wearing and follow them!|
|Stylekick||Post your favorite style trends and interact with others based on their style preferences|
|Knomi||Find suggest share and compare your favorite fashion products with your peers|
|Rent the Runway||Rent clothing, but see what that clothing looks like on other shoppers by viewing pictures of them in the garments descriptions of their height, weight and body shapes.|
|Wheretoget||Join forums and communities of shoppers who share the same style as you!|
|Lyst||Follow your favorite brands and people to see the latest products and trends|
|Rentez-Vous||Rent Clothing from your peers|
|Stitchfix||Personal stylist hand select your clothing|
|Trunk Club||Personal stylist select clothing for men on a monthly subscription|
|StrydeMen * Coming Soon||Men’s style curation based on occasions, mood and algorithms|
|Otes Clothing * coming soon||LA based men’s affordable streetwear subscription company|
I will update this list on my personal blog. If you are a company and you would like to be added please email me!