Picture me this. It’s Monday morning and the only thing that is making the daunting week ahead bearable is the thought of a girls night out on Friday. Sounds all too familiar doesn’t it? So inevitably, every lunch break that week, and maybe the odd occasion when the boss leaves the office, is dedicated to finding the perfect outfit for the night. You tread through every online fashion retailer, ASOS, Boo Hoo, Miss Guided (the list is endless these days), until you find the right look and within seconds, the money is out of your account and the item is on it’s way. Hurrah! But hang on, you now have to sit and wait until Thursday for it to arrive and that only gives you one night to decipher whether it will be the right fit. And on top of that, you have just spent £3.95 extra on delivery – that’s £3.95 you will never get back even if you return the item. All of a sudden, the purchase has become an expensive gamble. The shopping experience that we all know and love has become a waiting and guessing game. So why do we play?

It seems that despite the drawbacks of online shopping, we all do it and love it. It has been reported that Cyber Monday sales are expected to have reached a total of $1.5 billion (£625 million), in the US – the biggest ever online shopping day in American history. Traditionally, this day falls after Thanksgiving, so it is sale time and us fashionista’s are too full to get out the house and hit the shops. There is definitely something comforting about browsing online for this years epic Christmas jumper or office party killer heels on your sofa, but shopping is a hobby, a day out and an experience. How long until it becomes a forgotten past time?

The research also found that around 20% of shoppers used their mobile phones to access a retailer’s website, while 13 per cent of all sales were made using a mobile device. In all honesty, this comes as no surprise when you notice your internet search is packed with target adverts giving you the latest deals from your recently visited online retail sites. Essentially, the shopping experience has been reduced down to a screen of images to chose from. Browsing blissfully through rails, feeling the items for texture and quality, stopping off for a break, coffee and natter with a friend, trying clothes on and mimicking a Naomi Campbell catwalk has all been lost as technology has enabled the cyber shopper. Here at MSL we value the stories behind clothes, and many of those stories involve how one came across the garments, and somehow, telling a story about the girl who bought a dress online does not have the same ring to it.

Marni Banks




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