With this inexhaustibly changing fashion and consumer landscape, where retailers are being literally forced into coming up with ever new and superior ways to sell their clothes, purchasers are ever more being given exclusive access to collections, normally reserved for the tip of the fashion editrix pyramid.
So, now retailers are giving consumers the chance to pre-order collections, straight after catwalk shows and presentations, which often won’t arrive in stores for another six months; A savvy way to ensure customer loyalty and interest and keep ahead of the game.
With US based online retailer, Moda Operandi, causing a stir last year with the launch of their collection pre-order only ecommerce system, net-a-porter.com will now be following suit and offering an evening style, pre-order trunk show this week for the much anticipated Alexander Mcqueen lower line, McQ. Pieces will then arrive in as soon as two months after the order has been placed, right at the very beginning of the new-season drops.
"Pre-order is a service that we have offered our customers in the past for truly exceptional collections," explains Net-a-Porter's buying director, Holli Rogers. "McQ wasn't originally planning to sell the collection, so it's wonderful to be able to offer our customers the chance to pre-order a piece of fashion history."
Pre-ordering a bit of history might be a nice marketing mantra, but as pre-order has long been the exquisite indulgence of the flighty, globetrotting fashion editor and insider, it is now becoming yet another sales technique, as retailers are fighting to keep their heads above water, and as customers become more confident about buying online and as the internet continues to speed up the traditional cycles of trends and tastes. High-street giant Topshop has started offering its autumn 2012 Unique collection to editors for pre-orders – and where that commercial force leads, others are sure to follow.
Burberry, too, has become known for its engagement with online audiences, leading the way digitally a "Runway to Reality" service which means customers can buy pieces straight from the show via the company's website. "Customers can buy immediately from the show and receive in six to eight weeks," explains chief creative officer Christopher Bailey.
"It has changed the whole system of buying, as well as the cycle of production. Basically you can buy every bag that goes down the runway, every coat, and the make-up as well." So physical stores are now returning to the trunk show and private view idea to keep in line with trends, with some designers even doing this in person to keep some kind of personal connection with the consumer, but the likes of Net-a-porter, are looking to give the traditional, old school practice, a modern approch by introducing it digitally.
As ever it leads even the most un fashion savvy consumer to start planning their wardrobe and observing seasonal trends.