Rocket Internet’s fashion e-commerce marketplace ZALORA sure showed everyone in Singapore how a pop-up store should be like.
Samsung Galaxy tablets positioned near every rack, showcasing clothes adorned by models; computers with barcode scanners for those who would like to purchase immediately; and free WiFi in the entire store for customers to check out styling tips. Furthermore, it was located in one of the most expensive parts of town – ION Orchard.
But to call it a “digital interactive pop-up store” and have only all that to boast was a tad disappointing.
We had expected more from an online brand like ZALORA. What about mirrors that can detect clothing and take your photograph, a loyalty point system where you can scan barcodes with just a mobile phone and win rewards, or even an indoor GPS system that knows exactly where you are in the store?
Personal experience with the barcode scanners was a huge let down as well. After much browsing, I found a blue work skirt in one of the many hanging racks only to realise the “SKU did not match”. A friend asked, “Why not just type it in?” Sure, one could do that, but what’s the point? Isn’t convenience one of the biggest selling points of shopping online?
Back to my point, the shop was never an attempt to display its technological prowess, despite the words “digital” and “interactive” in the headline of a press invite; the store was “designed to increase awareness of the site among local consumers”, said Tito Costa, Regional Managing Director, ZALORA, in conversation with the Wall Street Journal.
Dione Song, Marketing Director, ZALORA Singapore, however, said, “The ZALORA Shop at ION is as much about us introducing ZALORA as both a retailer and a brand with our own recently re-launched private label, ZALORA Collection to shoppers, as it is about us really pushing the boundaries of consumer behaviour and challenging the dichotomy between online and offline retail.”
A physical space, she added, allows the brand to reinforce the concept of retail trust — that the clothes are real, without defects and are the right fit. It also reduces the number of returns and exchanges, which improves efficiency. Customers will also be happy to know that purchases will be delivered to their doorstep; they will not have to lug heavy shopping bags around.
“E-commerce is still the heart of our business, perhaps in the future, but not for now. But, we’ll see,” said Song, when asked about whether ZALORA will ever have a permanent physical store.
Next time, just call it a showroom with computers and tablets, ZALORA.
*The ZALORA Shop @ ION Orchard is located at #B2-04/05. It will operate from 10 am to 10 pm daily till the end of January 2015, according to an official press document.