Shopbop Fashion Director Caroline Maguire on the Future of Online Shopping
Pop-ups in outer space, anyone?
Shopbop has a lot to celebrate. The fashion e-commerce destination recently hosted a lush fête in SoHo, New York City to commemorate its 20th anniversary and launch its first-ever pop-up shop.
The brand has come a long way from its original brick-and-mortar boutique that opened two decades ago in Madison, Wisconsin. “We pride ourselves on finding the newest trends and bringing new designers to our customer,” says Caroline Maguire, Shopbop’s fashion director, who oversees all the buying, among other things, for the brand. (In short: she’s the one deciding what goes into your closet.) Shopbop currently sells apparel by more than 1,000 designers, from emerging names to runway favourites.
In an ever-changing online retail landscape, Shopbop has also been at the forefront of the innovative services we all know and love today. They were one of the first online retailers to launch free shipping and free global returns, as well as fully translated international sites. To find out what’s next in store for this fashion platform, we chatted with Maguire about the sustainable, and potentially out-of-this-world, future of retail.
On translating Shopbop’s online shopping experience to IRL:
“We wanted customers to come in and feel like it wasn’t just a retail space. They’re able to really experience what we think our girl would like. You’re supposed to enter and feel like you’re on a terrace, sort of outdoors. The idea was that you enter into your dream penthouse apartment and you feel like you’re there in closet with her. It’s supposed to be very comfortable. It’s an experience, and we want to celebrate with our customers and thank them for being so loyal.”
“We’re working very, very hard on that. We have an assortment online of sustainable lines and we’re getting more for 2020 but that’s definitely one of Shopbop’s priorities. We hear our customers loud and clear. We’ll need more sustainable packaging. With brands, we have sustainable denim brand Boyish, who we partner with. We do really well with sustainable denim based out of Los Angeles, and we did a really fun event with them last year where we did a beach clean up.”
On the evolution of online shopping:
“It’s changed dramatically. Shipping is two days, which makes the experience so easy. Even just eight years ago, people were so much more hesitant to shop online because it just wasn’t as expected and people were still scared. Things are so fast now and people need immediate gratification so that’s exactly what we’re trying to offer.”
On the future of retail:
“When Shopbop is 40 years old, we’re going to have a pop-up shop in space. It’s going to be something mega, something completely different. Our priority will still be being as loyal to our customers as they are to us. It’s about listening to what they want more of. We’re shopping around the globe for new designers. Our team goes to Australia Fashion Week, Copenhagen Fashion Week and we’re going to Colombia in two months. It’s about finding the newest pieces and presenting it to our customer. It’s also educating them, like ‘Yes, you have this dress now but we’re going to show you what we’re wearing it with in an approachable way that’s not intimidating.'”