Automated cash registers and virtual concierge services
have made in-store transactions easier for many. But the fashion and beauty sector has been slow to innovate—that is, until recently. Now, without having to schlep into stores, fashionistas can enjoy bespoke customer service from the comfort of their own screens.
People with busy schedules don't have time to scour the city for their "perfect" shoes. Michelle Goad
, a former Barneys and Marc Jacobs buyer, has developed a solution with PS DEPT.,
a free iPhone app that connects discriminating shoppers with in-store sales associates and stylists at boutiques like Opening Ceremony
and Creatures of Comfort
. Shoppers share the items they want through text message or uploaded image, which then triggers teams to start hunting. Once associates select pieces based on the given criteria, they send back photos of choices that can either be purchased immediately or held for a same-day appointment.
BonLook's Virtual Stylist:
Apparently seeking to avoid the spectacle (pardon the pun) of a digital generation of Urkels
, online prescription eyewear company BonLook
has created a tool to aid shoppers in the formerly inexact process of selecting flattering frames remotely. The Virtual Stylist
program invites site visitors to complete an interactive survey, after which they receive personalized videos with recommendations for stylish, face-appropriate frames. Profile specs include gender, skin tone, face shape, and fashion style, but the assessment is truly rounded out with the addition of uploaded self-photos or webcam images. Once submitted, a stylist responds with a video presentation of tailored recommendations.
Prescriptives Custom Blend:
When Prescriptives shuttered in 2010
, fans of the cult beauty brand were disheartened. But now the company has been reborn as an online-only endeavor, complete with a live video chat service for its famed Custom Blends
line. Shoppers log onto the website to schedule a consultation, return at the appointed time, and simply hit the "CHAT LIVE" button—all without being assaulted by the noxious perfume cloud that typically permeates cosmetics counters. After answering questions about skin type and desired coverage, a foundation or powder recipe is emailed within one or two business days and then ordered through the website.