Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Vogue young writer's competition entry - current trend piece

So ages upon ages ago (well,several months ago) I entered Vogue's annual young writer's competition. I just heard back from them in the form of a short letter and I didn't get shortlisted so no potential month of work experience there for me. Boo. However it means I can post the piece I'm most proud of out of the three I did for the competition on here. So here's my current trend piece, which focuses on the trend of online shopping. Enjoy!

21st Century Window Shopping

As a student with a hectic schedule I’ve done it and I’m sure you’ve done it. At the very least you’ll know someone who does. Be it in our lunch hour or after a stressful day. I’m talking about online shopping. As we’ve become more tech-savvy many shops have realised they could sell to a whole new range of women who love fashion but have no access to one of their store branches. Step forward the online shop.

Now most shops you find on the high street have an online presence too, with the majority of their shop stock available for purchase online as well as several online exclusives. Not only that but, for a small fee, you can have your desired outfit delivered to your house, meaning you could buy next season’s wardrobe without leaving your home.

With online shopping you can search for the items you want, and check if your size is in stock, without having to endure the weather, crowds of people and haphazardly organised clothing racks only to discover that the top you wanted is sold out in your size and no, they won’t be getting another delivery for at least three days. Given that as an alternative it’s no surprise that we are turning in droves to the online shops, with many websites reporting an increase in visitors over the past five years.

Jacqueline Currie, designer and founder of online jewellery store This Charming Girl, testifies to this. “Traffic has increased considerably since 2006,” she says. Carly Walker, owner of Era Vintage, says the same is true for her, “The number of visitors to the website has increased and, the orders have too!”

So how do online shops attract visitors on the Internet when there are millions of websites? Aside from the obvious answers, such as Google and word of mouth, both Jacqueline and Carly give credit to the same free source of advertising: social networking.

“There are many free marketing tools available that drive traffic directly to your site such as social networking sites and that makes it easier to find customers,” Jacqueline says.

But why exactly are online stores so popular, when many of the brands have high-street stores? “I think people like the choice that online shopping has to offer,” says Rachel Cowey, fashion editor for Small Change Publishing, “especially with sites like Asos, which don't exist in shop form.”

But is there a downside to online window shopping? Yes it’s easy and can protect you from the busy shopping centre crowds but there is a dangerous side too. Rachel admits that it “often feels like I'm not spending any real money” when she shops online.

So our high street isn’t in danger of becoming online only. For at heart we still prefer to try before we buy, and get our friends’ opinions as we do so. Somehow posting a link onto their Facebook page saying: “what do you think of this top?” isn’t quite the same.

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