These days, you can get groceries or a bottle of wine delivered to your door within hours. Services like Instacart have even made it possible to order and receive other odds and ends — medicine, batteries, or books — without leaving the comfort of your home. And now, fashion brands are testing these delivery methods too, in an effort to streamline the shopping experience and meet the demand for instant gratification. While delivery apps have increased steadily in popularity over the last decade, 2020 accelerated the shift as many shoppers seek out experiences that allow them to safely shelter in place.
Specific to New York City and Los Angeles, the delivery app FastAF has become a fan-favorite among influencers and editors since its launch in Nov. 2020. "We started FastAF to fill the simple void of being able to get premium essentials fast," founder and CEO Lee Hnetinka tells TZR, citing its customer base as "brand enthusiasts". The streamlined app provides shoppers with not only food, but also clothing and beauty products without the risk of shipping delays (and wasteful packaging), which can serve as a hindrance to those in a rush.
Currently, you can choose from over 350 brands including Everlane, Nike, and celebrity-backed basics brand, SKIMS. But according to Hnetinka, the product offering differs depending on where you're located. "Every city has a different selection of brands tailored," he explains. "New York's selection is different than that of Los Angeles because of its cold weather and difference in style." While L.A. residents are presented with an assortment of sunglass brands and sandals from Suicoke, New Yorkers' "city essentials" consist of Carhartt beanies and Uniqlo HeatTech.
"FastAF for me was the coolest thing ever," gushes New York-based content creator Lucy Rae McFadin — who recently used the app to buy a Boy Smells candle and fur oil. McFadin goes on to compare the app to the likes of UberEats but notes that it's "designed to fit the vibes of Venice Beach or The Lower East side and instead of food, there's much, much more to browse."
Customer-focused luxury brands have explored quick delivery services pre-Covid. Online retailer Net-a-Porter is known for its logo-branded trucks that bring customers their order same-day in New York City, London, and more recently the Southampton area. The now defunct department store Barneys New York also started its own version of this service in 2015 in an attempt to broaden its access to loyal customers. So while the concept itself is far from new, the cross-over between clothing brands and delivery apps is a logistical approach that allows access to an even wider audience of shoppers.
If you are already a frequent customer of food delivery services, depending on where you live you may be able to add a new sweater or pair of pajamas to your Postmates cart, too. "While they are still best known as a food delivery app, [Postmates] recently launched a new retail platform which tapped into the public’s continued demand for contactless shopping alternatives," says Jeff Lotman, the CEO and owner of Fred Segal, the iconic L.A. department store that recently partnered with the service.
In response to the in-person shopping restrictions brought on by the pandemic, Lotman has explored ways to bring the customer experience outside of traditional retail. "We had to figure out how to provide the Fred Segal retail experience to our customers, without the same access as having them physically in store," he continues. Aside from adding a partnership with Postmates, the brand started a shopping channel called Fred Segal Live — a weekly video stream that highlights an emerging label and the newest product offering.
For loyal fashion devotees though, sometimes the extra effort of securing a limited edition item overrules the pull of convenience. In July 2020, NYC-label Telfar debuted its silver medium shopper tote in collaboration with the since-closed restaurant Mission Chinese for an exclusive NYC-only drop that required in-person pick-up from the restaurant. Similar to their other releases, it was first-come-first-serve, and shoppers had to download the food order app ChowNow, and add the bag to cart and checkout, just as they would ordering dinner.
While, currently, many of these delivery services are specific to larger metropolitan areas, the current success suggests expanded opportunities with local brands and shops in smaller cities too. So, if you're looking for a way to enhance your online shopping experience and need something ASAP, consider closing your laptop and placing your order via one of the food delivery services on your phone, so you don't have to wait.