FOR someone who doesn’t enjoy online shopping — no, pay day sale messages do nothing for us and scrolling through endless options of clothes is nauseating — the pandemic has been rough. Heading to a shop with a girlfriend, knowing they won’t let us make a mistake, and making a day out of it is the real pick-me-up. As is the mall smell — a mix of the sweet aroma from the cookie shop and the whiff of new fabric. Although malls in the city have opened up, we haven’t found the nerve to step out. So, when we heard about High Street Phoenix/Palladium and Phoenix Marketcity Mumbai’s virtual personal shopping programme, we were game.
The one-of-its-kind service allows customers to get a virtual tour of the stores, avail recommendations based on trends, and the option to pick up the final products or get it delivered, all facilitated by a personal shopper-cum-stylist.
Longing for retail therapy, we headed to Phoenix Marketcity Kurla’s website on a gloomy afternoon. After selecting the personal shopper option on the home page, we decided to get some doubts cleared through the WhatsApp chatbot before proceeding. Our queries about costs — the service is free — and delivery time — usually takes 24 hours — were answered promptly. Post filling out contact details, the form asks who you’re shopping for, the product type, price range and preferred date. We found it rather odd that their lowest range was as wide as up to Rs 50,000, but played along.
The personal shopper facilitates video calls and sends pictures to give you a fair idea of the clothes
Once done, we immediately got a confirmation message. The next day, we got a call from the personal shopper right on time. The stylist, who was quite pleasant to speak to, took down a brief of what kind of clothes we were looking for, budgetary restraints and measurements over a phone call, before zeroing in on a couple of brands that would fit the bill. While she proceeded to the stores, we went back to our chores, feeling a little odd that someone else was shopping for us, and found ourselves staring at the phone, waiting for her to call or text. Half-an-hour later, we decided to call back for an update, and were informed that there was a network problem.
However, we were flooded with pictures of shirts, kurtas and pants on WhatsApp within minutes. After a few misses, she quickly caught up with our sense of style, picking up on little details like our fondness for sombre colours, pants with pockets and earthy prints, without us having to spell it out. She also made several video calls, patiently held up the clothes from various angles to give us a better idea of the shade and cut, and allowed us to virtually lounge around two stores and pick out numerous products we spotted on the racks.
While the constant assurance that we could see as many clothes as we wanted to was heartening, there were moments where communication was missing from their end, delaying the experience. For first-time shoppers, that can be unsettling. Although we were happy to spot multiple payment options, the delivery required follow-ups. But it was a pleasant surprise to recieve the products — a shirt and a pair of pants — within a few hours via WeFast. To sum up, if you, like us, don’t like to shop alone and want to avoid going out, the personal shopper might just turn out to be your friend indeed.
Log on to www.phoenixmarketcity.com
A few tips to consider
- If this is your first time using the service, make a clear note of what kind of clothes you’re looking for in terms of colour, design, price and occassion.
- The whole process takes time, so account for it. Don’t expect to wrap it up quickly and go back to WFH. You can take up some light reading or finish household chores while they send you options. Be patient; the perfect top is out there.
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