The nuts and bolts of fashion
Calling itself the "online fashion destination", Zalora has opened their first pop-up store in Causeway Bay. YP junior reporters were fortunate enough to sneak a peek at the preparations before the shop opened its doors. Turns out, there's quite a lot that goes into opening a shop!
When we arrived, the place was already bustling with activity. People were busy with last-minute preparations to get the shop looking its best for the official launch the following day. It looked pretty much furnished, except that the huge electronic tablets all around the shop weren't up and running yet.
The staff rushed back and forth handling various jobs; like ironing and steaming clothes, dressing up mannequins, and touching up the fitting rooms - which were also going to double as the backstage area for the launch event's fashion show.
We were given a chance to dress one of the mannequins in an outfit the stylist had picked, and that's when I found out that dressing up plastic humans is actually a lot harder than I thought. We had to unscrew the bottom half of the body and take off the arms to put on the top and trousers. And when we finally got the outfit on the mannequin, it didn't quite look as good as the ones standing on display in the window.
The next day, after our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the preparation, we attended the store launch to see if all the hard work paid off.
The space looked very different from the day before. The middle of the room was now clear of mannequins, acting as a makeshift catwalk, and different brands of clothes were separated and clearly labelled on their racks.
Suddenly, the music got louder to signal the start of the show. We watched as one model after another strutted out, all impeccably dressed, wearing the clothes I browsed through the day before.
The fashion show was separated into three sections: party wear, casual wear and business wear. Male models were slotted in between female models, and we noticed that the amount of men's wear shown was significantly less than female clothing.
The Zalora spokesperson explained that because 70 per cent of the shoppers at Zalora are female, they have to tailor themselves to the market. Well, as they say in the world of shopping: the customer is always right!
From internet to reality
Some businesses have taken advantage of the advanced technology to create an online platform for lazy shopaholics.
The Zalora slogan "Shop more, carry less" is displayed on the walls of the new Zalora pop-up store at Windsor House in Causeway Bay, as a homage to the online shopping experience. And it's not just Zalora, the online shopping sensation is growing.
Statistics show that nearly 72 per cent of millennials research their options online before going to the store or the mall. Online shop sales are predicted to grow steadily to US$370 billion in 2017, up from US$231 billion in 2012, according to the website www.cmo.com
Although online shopping is a convenient service, it is inevitable that some customers have doubts and are unsure about the quality and the sizes of items. The Zalora pop-up store is a way to ease those worries and provides an educational experience about online shopping. It gives shoppers the opportunity to feel the material and see whether it fits, and shows that online shopping can be exactly like traditional shopping.
"This is not only an opportunity to connect with our old customers, but also attract new ones by guiding them through the e-shopping process while still being able to physically see and feel the clothes at the store," says Christopher Daguimol, regional PR director at Zalora.
"If you dress well, it's like you're ready to take on the world."
The store employs a wooden, simplistic theme to showcase their wide range of clothing and shoes. Overhead lights complement this design, adding a modern touch. Different slogans decorate the walls to reinforce the perks of online shopping.
Apple computers and Samsung tablets are placed around the store for customers to instantly place their orders, and to visually connect the physical shopping experience with the online one. At the back of the store, there is a cash-free checkout stall right next to the change rooms. There is also a customer service counter where you can return items that do not fit or that you don't like.
Zalora has divided their clothing into four categories: work wear, party wear, street casual, and men's. Do you want to find a specific brand? No problem. All the brands are separated and labelled on the racks. The middle section is dedicated to Marketplace, which showcases local brands.
With this pop-up store, Zalora has made a great effort to imitate their online shopping experience in real life, showing there's nothing to fear when buying online.