I’ve been thinking a lot about shopping events recently. Anyone who has visited this blog before will know I love to shop in SL. I remember back as early as 2009/10 there were far, far fewer events, and when they happened they were a big deal. Designers really pulled out all the stops to showcase their very best, there were great gifts, and all sorts of activities like photo contests, fashion shows and parties to get involved with. They were a great way to discover new designers too, and I would collect landmarks and visit the stores of the ones I liked after the event.
Then I started blogging, and managed to get selected to be an official blogger for all sorts of events, and that was fun too, seeing the event exclusives early, thinking up ways to photograph them, and posting fast and furious to help drum up a sense of anticipation. I enjoy blogging for charity events in particular – helping to promote a worthy cause is always good for the soul, and I have always been happy to spend my Lindens at events like Fashion For Life.
Then regular discount shopping events started – based on the retail model of the designer sample sale or discount fashion warehouses, where designers would offer a product at a heavily discounted price for a limited period, or a limited number of items. Another model was to have discounted items placed in store on a particular day. SL designers have always been creative in finding ways to promote their products to their customers, creating a buzz and making us feel like we are getting special deal and bargains is, of course, a big part of that.
So, why have I been thinking about it recently? Well, I think I am developing retail event fatigue. There was a time I would hit the “TP” button repeatedly to fight my way into events that were full, and I would happily spend hundreds, or more likely thousands, of lindens at good events. These days, if I try to TP and the event is full, I more often than not just get on with something else – why are we so crazy to get there on day one, when by day four or five the event will probably be pretty much empty? Where once I might have bought a dozen items, now I am more likely to buy one or two items from particular favourite designers. I see the same brands over and over at a lot of the bigger events too – much less of a voyage of discovery, and much more groundhog day! The lag can be quite excruciating (I know it has always been that way – but I have less tolerance for it now) and some of the avatars and behaviour at events can be less than pleasant too. It’s become a whole lot less exciting, and a whole lot more tedious for me. And in the meantime, stores are becoming less interesting to shop in – because it seems like everything is being released at events now. It feels a bit like real life, where superstores and massive shopping malls have virtually replaced local shops.
And I may not be alone in this. Fashion For Life 2014, which ended last weekend, ran for 2 weeks, on 10 sims, with over 150 designers. According to the official Team page, FFL2014 raised 3,004,148 Lindens (that’s 12,007 US$ ). Fantastic effort for a very important cause. Fashion For Life 2013 ran for 10 days over 7 sims, with a similar number of designers, and raised closer to 6 million Lindens - nearly twice as much. There may be many factors contributing to this, of course – time of year, what else was going on in SL at the time (there are so many events now that they often clash), a shrinking SL economy (thought I’m not aware it’s shrinking THAT much), a different team promoting the event with possibly less “reach” this year….but I am pretty confident that simple retail event fatigue has also played a big part. We’re just not so excited about events these days, and we spend less when we go.
I’d like to see more in-store releases, and do more shopping at designers stores. There will always be a place for events, of course, but I would like to see more “events” that take place in stores – because in a store, you can see all of a designers work and get a real feel for their style and products. I know there will always be a place for big events, but I want to start a campaign for store shopping in SL! Bring back the corner shop!
Ironically, of course, the dress I’m wearing today is from an event – albeit a small one. The Couturiers Docks is a monthly event featuring a limited number of discount items from designers based at SAVIAD shopping district. I like it because it’s small – just a handful of designers, and it’s based at the mall, so you can have a wander and see the designers stores when you visit. And the designs featured are usually great quality and original too.
What do you think? Are events the only way to shop? Or have you got tired of them too? Do you prefer shopping at stores? What could store owners do to make visiting them more appealing to you? I’d love to know your thoughts!
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