Watch, Not Buy

One Orchard Store, the Textile and Fashion Federation-initiated e-commerce platform joined the first E-Great Singapore Sale today with a shop-by-video access. Only thing is, it isn’t shoppable… yet

The Textile and Fashion Federation’s (TaFF) e-shop One Orchard Store (OOS) launched a video today that allows viewers to shop what they see, but it was met with a glitch: like that, buy not. The video, showing models in pairs and filmed at various local tourist spots, is supposed to have the added function of allowing viewers to immediately access the “looks” that they like and desire to buy. A discreet “Shop this Look” link is provided on the bottom-right side of the video, but click on it, and no pop-up page opens that allows viewers to shop the desired garment. It was later reported on CNA that “due to a technical error, a video without the function has been uploaded.” CNA also said that according to TaFF, the operator of OOS, “this was a loss of direct purchasing opportunity.”

Whether there is calculable loss is not yet known. For the debut of the e-Great Singapore Sale (e-GSS), many retail platforms have included live-streaming to make online shopping more engaging, but OOS has opted for a video format instead. Titled “Step into a World”, the video is “Specially Curated for You”, and comes with the possibility of instantaneously buying what catches your fancy. We were not tempted, but curious to know how this would work, we clicked on the link when we saw a cheongsam by Lai Chan. The link offered no other action than pausing the short film. As the video is powered by YouTube, the bar of ‘suggested video’ (based on your viewing habits) appeared at the bottom of the screen. Nothing bore any relation to OOS.

We repeated this at other points on the two-minute-plus video for the next two hours, and the same result kept surfacing. This, in fact, was not the only glitch that we experienced on OOS today. Earlier, we tried accessing the video on our smartphone, but was met with an error message: “Webpage not available.” SOTD contributor Mao Shan Wang later messaged us to say that she too encountered the same problem on her Galaxy Note 20. We took to our notebooks and only then, did we land on the webpage with the yet-to-fully function video—possibly the first technical snag of the e-GSS.

The technical fault was easy to overlook since we were not really here to shop. But what we found rather curious is the direction of the video. Was this, in fact, from the Visit Singapore website? We had no idea why the selling of Singaporean fashion labels via an e-commerce page has to be a video recommendation of our island’s places of interest—National Gallery, Asian Civilisations Museum, Treetop Lofts, S.E.A. Aquarium, and Gardens by the Bay. What is surprising is how lacking in fervour the video was filmed. This may have worked as a TaFF video annual report, but for the retailing of clothing, was it saying that OOS is a mere cluster of brands? And a Singapore Tourism Board (STB) vehicle too?

We are not sure if clothes and locations are equally enticing when shared in one promotional material. Sure, the e-GSS is part of the STB’s impressively-budgeted S$45-million marketing splash to get locals to explore the island’s many attractions in lieu of holidays abroad. But must the film project an image of our city’s offerings as grassroots rather than worldly, average rather than exceptional? To be certain, the video is consistent with the content now being generated in a COVID-19 world, when models/subjects with zombie smiles are unable to benefit from professional hair and makeup services, when visuals have to look decidedly homespun, when clothes have not the benefit to meet an electric iron.

It is not known how much sales One Orchard Store has generated since its launch in June. Or, if the labels in its fold have been able to generate sufficient interest with the bland product visuals submitted by the respective brands for use on the OOS site. The video is possibly aimed at creating not just a less static platform, but also one with which OOS is able to project a vestige of image consistency for the online store. Sensory stimulation to counter OOS’s till-now one-dimensional and dull product presentation is a positive way forward. But a mere moving version of those unimaginative photos really won’t do very much.

Screen grabs: One Orchard Store

One thought on “Watch, Not Buy

  1. Pingback: Preface To Vogue SG | Style On The Dot

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