Online shopping has developed very quickly over the years, and its rise has been sufficiently aided by websites such as eBay and ASOS Marketplace, as well as the mobile app Depop. These platforms are very different to the usual fashion retail websites, and are beneficial in the way they offer their buyers and sellers an accessible and personal medium to contact one another. However, online shopping itself has only increased in recent years as a result of our society’s instant gratification culture. Whilst these platforms are beneficial, they are also becoming even quicker methods of transaction in order to keep up with an impatient consumer that requires efficiency. Shopping has become even more transactional rather than an experience, and this certainly holds questions about what the future holds for online fashion.
eBay has been a popular online seller for many years, as has ASOS marketplace on a slightly smaller scale. However, with the progression of online shopping, there has been a need for even more platforms. Depop, for example, has received a huge surge in popularity recently. This is mainly due to its accessibility: although other online websites such as ASOS have their own mobile app, the Instagram-style format of Depop makes it even easier to use. Instagram is an app many younger audiences are familiar with, and the use of ‘likes’ aids them in looking back at photos and videos they are interested in, which has also become a feature of Depop. The ‘following’ option also leaves scope to follow anyone from friends to fashion bloggers, making the whole experience more personalised.
Creating an account on the app is a very simple process, and it is also easy to link items up to other social media platforms to increase their chances of selling. The app is humanised through the leisurely format of contacting buyers individually to discuss products and ask questions, or even to negotiate prices. Some users even offer ‘swaps’ as a method of payment. This is something that is not possible on other fashion websites associated with larger high-street closing brands, making the app therefore arguably seem more attractive to customers sceptical about buying clothes online. The app is indeed incredibly efficient, and this in turn reflects the modern fashion consumer.
As these platforms become even quicker to use, so too does the process of choosing and buying products. Fashion itself becomes less of an experience, rather more a requirement of transaction. Online shopping culture is certainly convenient, but can also be lazy. Clothing can often look quite different on an online image to what it does in person. This element of instant gratification seems to have completely replaced the previous shopping experience for some consumers.
Not only do clothing items often look quite different online, there are sometimes also issues with payment. Sometimes, especially in the case of Depop, the sellers may not be trustworthy or reputable. This problem is rectified by the fact that Depop regulates transactions through necessitating on-app payment, as well as the brand’s affiliation with the secure online payments system PayPal. This does incur a small commission charge, but more significantly secures safe payment. This is also helped through the feature of user ratings that buyers and sellers can submit for each other, which are clearly displayed on their profile. These are elements which are not possible with other online shopping brands, and aim to make the platform as convenient for the modern shopper as possible.
These websites and online apps create an interactive platform for absolutely anybody to produce their own fashion brand and establish a label successfully. Their personal feel is clearly catalysing their success, and it is undeniable that the option to buy cheaper second hand and vintage clothing, which are no longer readily available in stores, will always remain a popular one. These methods of transaction are evidently becoming more and more popular. Yet, they do pose questions about the modern fashion consumer, and how this will seek to progress even further in future. Our culture is one which seeks instant gratification and efficiency, not only through shopping but also through everything else we do. These online platforms ultimately do offer a very inclusive experience, and the accessibility of Depop in particular holds the most longevity, paving the way for even more technological methods of consumerism in future.
Images: http://www.expatliving.sg, Glamour