While some brands are moving away from the physical storefront in favour of the online world, there’s a growing number of plus-size retailers who are expanding into brick and mortar.
And curvy girls are rejoicing.
The latest is Eloquii, which is opening a temporary, experimental space in Arlington, Virginia for three months this spring. Since its re-launch three years ago, the brand has become a major player when it comes to plus-size fashion.
It previously operated as part of The Limited and gained quick popularity after Saturday Night Live star Aidy Bryant wore an Eloquii dress to the Emmy Awards earlier this year, resulting in a wait-list for the dress.
The store is in response to a growing consumer demand for a physical store location – something that’s a rarity when it comes to the plus-size retail world.
The move comes at a time when several big brands – including traditional plus-size brands – have expanded their size offerings, some as large as size 20 and higher. Despite these offerings, brick and mortar stores for the curvier set have not been in abundance (i.e. have been illusive).
Lane Bryant and Torrid were pretty much the only mainstays on the market.
As Glossy reports, according to Mariah Chase, chief executive officer of Eloquii, the physical location will offer insight into how consumers shop in-store versus online and how to integrate technology into the shopping experience – something a growing number of retailers are doing.
This includes everything from digital signage and the use of iPads for point of sale transactions, to heat maps to determine where consumers are spending the most amount of time.
“There’s been a focus on bringing digital technology to the offline experience,” said Chase, according to Glossy. “We want to make sure that we’re doing it because the customer wants it and it benefits them — not just doing it for our own sake, to say we have interesting technology in our store.”
While come people religiously shop from the comfort of their sweatpants and living room couch, to others, the concept of online shopping is more anxiety-inducing than a shopping mall on Boxing Day.
Personally, it seems that the only people who can shop online and guarantee a perfect fit are models with bodies akin to clothes hangers.
The rest of us run the very probable risk of our prettily packaged apparel looking nothing like it did on the screen when it graces our diverse bodies (after all, we all know that clothing sizing is pretty much a joke). Not only is there nothing good about that feeling, it’s often annoying to have to send the thing back.
I know I am not alone: a 2015 study by TimeTrade found that 85 per cent of consumers prefer to shop at a physical store.
When your body, in all its curvaceous glory, is far from that of a stick figure, the need to shop at a physical location is even more important.
So, good move, Eloquii.