Ayse Arel Kulahcioglu, Founder, Maison Orient

Meet the e-platform celebrating unique and emerging designers all over the world.

In a time where online shopping is most prevalent, e-tail market places like Maison Orient are disrupting the industry by promoting regional designers to new audiences around the world.  

About Maison Orient

Maison Orient is a curated e-commerce platform for brands, designers and artists from the ‘Orient’ with a mission to tell their stories and introduce them to a wider global audience. We want to connect creative talents from different corners of the world with consumers who are looking for quirkiness and authenticity.

1. In your opinion, in general, how has online purchase behavior changed since the COVID-19 broke out?

The pandemic created so much economic uncertainty that people are afraid to shop at the moment. However, with all the lock downs and encouragements of staying home, people turned to online shopping for their basic needs such as home supplies and grocery shopping.

Like most people, I believe that COVID-19 will change the future of many industries and many consumer habits. Even people who were hesitant to buy online are shopping on websites now so I think once the people experience the convenience of getting everything delivered to their doorsteps, they will continue to do it.

2. How might e-commerce companies make up sales hits during this time?

I think this is a very sensitive time, I personally don’t see it as a marketing opportunity so I am trying to be very careful about the communication despite the fact that I must continue to generate sales in order to survive and make the brands that are within Maison Orient survive. Ensuring that all measures are taken and that brands are abiding by the rules is one way to make consumers feel safer and encourage them to shop.

3. In this state of uncertainty, how will consumer shopping habits change re: investing in ‘luxury’ products online right now?

As life slowed down, we all started appreciating what we currently have much more than before. I believe that this notion of slowing down and consuming less will stay with many people. Sustainability will be even more important than before and luxury brands will incorporate this into their production while consumers will shop less. Buying a luxury product is an investment in a way and people use that product for a long time instead of using and discarding it the next season. People will shift away from fast fashion and buy less with more meaning.

4. What can e-commerce companies do to engage with hesitant shoppers during this time?

I think price reductions or discounts will encourage people to shop now. Shopping is a way of therapy for most people but it might feel like an unnecessary spending at the moment in light of all the economic uncertainties. The wheels need keep turning, brands need to keep selling to survive. Surviving is the key word here so instead of adding high margins, fair pricing might be a way to keep people shopping.

Another element is hygiene, people worry about deliveries and packages so reassuring them of the necessary steps being taken and contactless deliveries are a good way to engage hesitant shoppers.

5. Is e-commerce the future?

Yes, it always has been, but now with this pandemic changing the world and resetting systems, it will definitely be the future. Retail must survive and one must feed the other but for retail to survive especially during the upcoming after math of Covid-19, they must shift the way. People will move and travel less for a long while, but they will go back to their needs and habits of shopping. Instead of going out to shop, they will purchase online. E-commerce will be the center of retail and will need to be implemented into the retail strategies. This current forced way of living will be the natural way of living for most people in the world. Just as people who never shopped online started getting all their needs there, they will continue to do so event for their leisure needs.

"E-commerce will be the center of retail and will need to be implemented into the retail strategies."

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels