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Heim tent, available at Bradford Shellhammer’s digital store, Bezar

Each week, @dwell and @designmilk invite experts and fans to weigh in on trending topics in design as part of our #ModernMonday Twitter chat. Bradford Shellhammer, who recently launched the online “pop-up” shop Bezar, joined us for a stimulating conversation about buying and selling design digitally. Below, we’ve compiled some of our favorite responses from Shellhammer and the community.

Q1: Purchases are often made from people seeing inspiring images. What role does social media play in online retail?

@youngbradford: social only works if you have exciting products and images. good luck if not.

Q2: You can’t feel or touch anything on the internet. How can customers confirm the quality/authenticity of their purchases?

@DianaBudds: Examine photos closely, read customer reviews, pick places that work with reputable designers. Good storytelling helps too

Q3: For designers, are there any benefits of choosing offline, brick-and-mortar retail over e-commerce?

@Coverings: Though we live in a digital age, there’s still something to be said for being able to touch and examine products in person

Dwell on Design presenter and Bezar founder Bradford Shellhammer

Q4: What are consumers looking for when they shop online? Are there limitations to what people are willing to buy?

@TerriJMoore: People used to buy house kits from Sears via catalog, I don’t see why online is any different

Q5: In what ways could the design world better embrace new technology and digital practices?

@thisisheatherc: Brands need to respond to what consumers want, like the mattress cos using @WarbyParker’s successful try-and-buy model

Q6: What are some of your favorite design items that you buy online? What will you only buy in-person?

@erikaheet: Despite our strides in color matching online, sometimes you just have to see the color of a fabric or paint in person.

See Bradford Shellhammer discuss design in the digital world at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, and follow @dwell on Twitter to participate in our weekly #ModernMonday conversations.


Originally submitted by Luke Hopping