Online shopping is the preferred method for most. As a culture, we expect convenience, quality and instant gratification. However, something is lost in e-commerce. They sacrifice interaction with shopkeepers and salespeople, as well as the advice and knowledge they have about the products they sell. There is also the constant problem of fit challenges when ordering online. As stores across the country are closed, brands have had to adapt quickly and connect with their customers in new ways. We have seen virtual wedding dress fittings and online sample sales, and now virtual styling sessions are starting.
I recently tried my first with Madewell and found that it was the perfect balance between online shopping and the store experience. Not to mention the joy of carefree conversations with someone, an experience of social distancing has made it challenging. Even if some states start plans to reopen stores, shoppers may hesitate to enter soon. A simple zoom chat with a stylist got personal attention from home. How was it all
How do you make an appointment?
It was easy! I used this link to arrange a free appointment with an online Madewell stylist. Then I received an email confirming my appointment, a questionnaire about what I was looking for, and a brief description of my overall style. The answer took less than five minutes. I also shared my Instagram handle so that she can see a little more of how I dress.
What does the styling session include?
I met (virtually) with my stylist for a personal conversation. The call lasted about 30 minutes. My stylist Kerri Curtis from Austin, TX works in one of Madewell's currently closed stores, but has helped with virtual appointments during this time. It was prepared with mood boards with new, purchasable products, which were divided into categories. She was also guided by social contributions and added a batik sweatshirt because I had posted a homemade one the day before.
Above: One of the mood boards that my stylist made for me before our session
I took the call next to my closet so I could refer to parts and accessories that I already own. It was such a pleasant experience to get in touch with someone and talk about an easy and fun topic like clothes! We went through each article and I was able to ask questions about the fabric, fit, comfort and even the shine of a pair of linen pants. Guesswork when buying online is made easier if the person who recommends the items knows the products so well. She had a number of new arrivals in her house so that she could actually show me items in video chat.
Do you have to buy anything?
I received a follow-up email with links to all the pieces I liked. The service is free and there is no buying pressure – although I got two things. Overall, I found the process simple and very personal. It's a lot different than chatting via Messenger. This comes much closer to the experience with a sales representative in the store. I can definitely see that this will be the new normal even after we leave our homes!
Image source: POPSUGAR Photography / Dana Avidan Cohn