This week I am bringing you sites where Internet shopping is about selling you an idea, a lifestyle. They are sites which make you feel that you are getting an inside story somehow unavailable to others.
Let's start with Camper
This site was set up after its successful shoe stores - originally in Barcelona ... had earned an international reputation. And the site, with its history of the shoe business in the family going back 120 years really does make you feel like you are priveleged to know this stuff. Part of the family. It has archives of ads for you to sort through and a new launch, Camper food is about healthy living and wholesomeness. And all of this slice of the site is very funky with a funky, slow dancebeat to help you into a cool dood mood.
All this is a setting for shoes which are alternative - different left foot to right, emphasis on comfort and a kind of 'natural' home made look about them. A far cry from Manolo.
Look here too.
Of course you can buy the stuff (although the e-shop section is a bit clunky) and the image offered is a photo of a shop with shoes to select from and see from a range of angles. Quite sophisticated when it was first set up, but no longer state of the Art.
And maybe they like it that way with their feature on indigenous art making sure they do not get above themselves with sophistication. This is the Internet with an earthy, in touch glow.
Wearing Camper shoes becomes a political statement as well as something about lifestyle choices ...
You can sort through their index to find meatspace stores and I am sure that when you go in their shops you will feel you have the edge if you have had the behind the scenes welcome from the website.
And I hope to buy some Campers when I go to Berlin next week.
An online store which offers more than most is Amplebosom. This company has a strong media presence despite its amateurish non glitzy look on-line. Don't be deceived by this image. It is a selling point that stock is kept in the barn on Sally's farm (yes, you know, Sally) and that she is a real farmer's wife. There are some wonderful pictures of our friend strewn with bras amongst the cows in a shed and looking very busy. She is a woman like us, who was forced to set up a company in order to cope with the problem of not being able to get bras big enough. Sally has no shops but enjoys a strong media presence and you can enjoy watchinmg clips of her from when she was on the telly.
Then of course there is Helen, who flogs handknitted cardis.
Again the emphasis is on the personal, the 'speaking to you as friend' tone. We can find out how Helen learned to knit and how she gets her ideas from the Celtic inspitations around her.
There is an inset piece of info about Women's Aid, Domestic Violence, and the emphasis is on caring, compassion, sisters together.
This is a soft site, presented in muted colours, in comparison to the funkiness of Camper. It is about hearth and home.
So there you have it. Three shopping sites carefully using the public/private affordances of the Internet in order to flog stuff. Happy Shopping.