The question has never been more relevant for retailers around the world: What actually motivates people to shop?
Stores, of both the online and brick-and-mortar kind, are scrambling to find an answer in an ever-changing consumer landscape. The signs are in the shake-ups of late. First there was Net-a-Porter’s merger with Yoox, with the aim of creating the largest online luxury retailer in the world. Presumably part of the thinking is that the Yoox Group’s proven logistical and organizational capabilities can help turn Net-a-Porter profitable. Then came Saks Fifth Avenue replacing its president just 15 months into her tenure. And just earlier this week, J.Crew made headlines for its reported $607.8 million losses in a single year, which was magnified by fan outcry against the cool-girl styling Jenna Lyons has brought to the brand. (As an aside: J.Crew might not have had the $607.8 million to lose if Lyons hadn’t put the label back on people’s radars.)
Elsewhere, a more crowd-sourced model seems to be booming, at least as far as potential investors are concerned. Farfetch, which uses a global marketplace model allowing stores to use its interface to create online shops, is valued at $1 billion, and Etsy, whose IPO is rumored to happen this week, has an estimated value of $1.78 billion.
But back to the original question: In the emerging but still turbulent landscape of online shopping and the declining market for the in-store shopping experience, why do people shop the way they do? Rather than make speculative pronouncements on the big picture, we took a more grassroots approach. We polled stylish people around the world about their shopping habits for a glimpse into the psyche of shopping—find their answers in the slideshow above.
This article is part of Style.com’s Fashion State of the Union week. Read all of our stories from the series here.
—Steff Yotka, Style.com