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10 Reasons Your Business Should Have a Custom Facebook Landing Page

If your business is on Facebook, adding a custom landing page can have a big impact on your presence there. A custom landing page can help drive web traffic, add value to your online marketing efforts and increase sales.

If you’re considering the types of benefits a custom landing page can create, this post will help make up your mind.

A custom Facebook landing page can:

1. HIGHLIGHT A CALL TO ACTION.

One of the biggest points about your landing page should be to direct your audience to do something, whether its signing up for your newsletter, downloading a coupon or requesting a free sample. You can use a custom landing page as a way to extend the reach of your lead generating efforts.

2. DRIVE INTEREST IN CURRENT PROMOTIONS, EVENTS AND PRODUCTS.

A landing page can be a great flexible feature area for your web presence. You can generate a buzz around new products there or break news about sales and promotions. Heck, you might even want to test out breaking new information there first to see if it helps grow your network.

3. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

There are several touted best practices for a Facebook landing page, and several companies that are heralded as having some of the best ones out there. Unfortunately, this spurns a lot of copycats. Try to take cues from what you see as a best practice and add your own dose of originality.

4. PERSONALIZE YOUR COMPANY IN AN IMPERSONAL WORLD.

Facebook profiles without customization can be bland and formulaic. A well-designed landing page will help your page stand out in a land of static templates. A thought out landing page can also help you personally connect to your audience and further brand your platform. Be careful not to simply recreate your web design. Remember, your customers are there to get something unique.

5. WELCOME VISITORS TO YOUR PAGE.

On Facebook, new fan pages and groups pop up every day. There can be confusion as to whether or not you are on the “official” page of the brand, celebrity or organization you are searching for. A landing page will lend credibility to your platform and reassure your audience they are in the right place. And it’s a pretty cool welcome mat, too.

6. DETERMINE ROI WITH IFRAMED LANDING PAGE TABS.

We’ve got news for your accounting department — you can now determine whether or not your Facebook page is directly leading to sales. Several socially savvy companies have caught on to this. JCPenny, Delta and Threadless all have shopping carts iFramed into their Facebook pages. Whether you’re booking public storage spaces or selling software, your Facebook page can act as another direct sales channel.

7. HIGHLIGHT SPECIAL OFFERS FOR “LIKING” YOUR PAGE.

Once you actually get someone to your Facebook page, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get them to actually click that “Like” button. Use a landing page to give them that incentive. Think about special discounts, coupons or other rewards you can give to your network to thank them for their loyalty.

8. DRAW ATTENTION TO YOUR “LIKE” BUTTON.

Let me peface this by saying that I’ve never had a problem locating a “Like” button on a business page. However, there are still valid reasons to embed them in a landing page. Mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets, are quickly evolving into the primary tools people use to access the Internet. It’s now much more difficult to gauge what will appear above and below the fold. Strategically embedding a “Like” button in another spot may make it more likely a visitor will follow your call to action. But don’t go overboard.

9. SHOWCASE YOUR CREATIVITY OR HUMOR WITH UNIQUE CONTENT.

A landing page is a place where companies can step outside of their stilted corporate persona and connect with an audience from one human to another. Think of something “off the wall” (Oh, no I didn’t. Yes, I did.) to display the personalities within your organization. Humor is a no brainer. Taco Bell (another company that is mentioned frequently in social media marketing) currently uses its landing page as a Superhero video comic strip. This is the kind of unique value customers are seeking when they become a part of your network.

10. CALL ATTENTION TO YOUR VALUE PROPOSITIONS.

By now, your brand has established its value propositions. Without duplicating your website content, use the landing page as a flexible channel to bring attention to the benefits your company offers. One thing to note when you do this however is to not be overly promotional. Eyes will glaze. Back buttons will be clicked.

Source: Sexysocialmedia.com

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Why Mobile Holds the Key to the Future

2678_iphone-apps_medium

Just like the e-commerce and blog sceptics before them, those who doubt the importance of m-commerce and mobile marketing will be exposed as short-sighted

Contrary to popular belief, mobile is not just a new medium that will win attention. Instead, it represents a continued trust in a brand and its values which translate to a new channel for marketing and commerce. And as more consumers transfer their online shopping habits to mobile devices, this means the biggest beneficiaries will be those luxury brands which consumers trust across all channels – mobile included.

“Affluent and wealthy consumers are embracing mobile functionality and mobile applications,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute in New York. “Right now they’re doing it for things that are a little mundane, but also for important things like financial services and financial information, and they have downloaded luxury brands’ apps.”

“Younger consumers have downloaded more than older consumers, but as devices get easier to use and as more people buy mobile devices with better screens, I think you’ll see mobile becoming a far more important device – even more important than the PC in terms of interacting with consumers,” he said. “It’s going to become a mobile world and luxury brands need to be really prepared.”

Finding the fit

All indications point to more luxury brands starting to advertise on mobile ahead of a fully-fledged mobile commerce presence over the next couple of years.

Prestige players such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Toyota’s Lexus have made waves and moved the needle. Each has taken an early initiative in targeting consumers with mobile advertising and each by integrating interactive components.

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Neiman Marcus’s Christmas Book, Lexus advertising page on Esquire and R.L. Gang, the Ralph Lauren’s storybook for its children line

For example, Lexus placed a full-page rich-media ad in the launch edition of male lifestyle magazine __Esquire__’s iPad application. The unit prompted users to manipulate a digital graphic using their fingers to launch a 30-second video shot for the brand’s national “Drive Precision” campaign. Consumers could then find out more information about Lexus’ IS line of sedans and locate nearby dealerships to schedule an appointment.

Ralph Lauren, which was awarded 2010 Luxury Marketer of the Year, launched a shoppable storybook called “R.L. Gang” that promoted its children’s fashion line. The company placed a banner ad in The New York Times’ Editors Choice iPad application that drove awareness of, and traffic to, the initiative.

The storybook ran a plot narrated by entertainer Harry Connick Jr. that featured characters wearing Ralph Lauren items. Users could click the characters to shop the items online or on their iPads. The feature was viewed 131,000 times across channels, generating more than 100 million impressions worldwide, and drove a 250% increase in sales over the corresponding period in 2009.

Other luxury brands such as the automaker Bentley and watch manufacturer IWCShaffhausen have converted their branded magazines into interactive applications. Mercedes-Benz even integrated the iPad into its point-of-sale system, enabling dealers to conduct transactions on the showroom floor using the mobile technology.

Retail detail

Another example of a luxury brand looking to navigate the new marketing ecosystem by integrating mobile into its sales strategy is the storied US luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus.

“Even if you do have a great contact strategy, it doesn’t matter if your customer is disappointed with your lack of multichannel integration,” said Gerald Barnes, president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Direct, at the Luxury Interactive conference in New York in June. “Multichannel integration is key to prove that we’re customer-centric, 21st-century luxury retailers.”

“When you think about the customer, the customer just really expects you to get the merchandise from wherever the merchandise comes from,” he said. “You need to be able to move back and forth between your own channels.”

The retailer fully mobilized its entire product catalogue this summer, making it available on a mobile commerce site compatible with any web-enabled handheld device.

“Our strategy is to enable our customer to shop with us anywhere she wants to, any time she wants to, from any place she wants to,” said Ginger Reeder, vice president of corporate communications at Neiman Marcus. “To that end, NeimanMarcus.com is on a mobile-friendly site and we are seeing increased usage.”

“ Multichannel integration is key to prove that we’re customer-centric, 21st-century luxury retailers ”

Additionally, the brand has launched two mobile applications: NM Editions for the iPad and NM Gift for the iPhone. NM Editions creates a unified platform for viewing all of Neiman Marcus’ publications such as its annual Christmas Book that was released in early fall. Consumers can select and buy items from the catalogues within the application, which is available for free in Apple’s App Store.

The NM Gifts application lets consumers browse and buy from Neiman Marcus’ full selection of holiday gifts. It also integrates the iPhone’s accelerometer technology to create a more interactive shopping experience, letting consumers shake their devices to generate gift suggestions at random.

“When you look at the way [luxury retailers] reach and connect with consumers today, the old model where consumers are loyal to one channel of distribution has gone by the wayside,” said Pam Danziger, president of US-based firm Unity Marketing. “Marketers need to be reinforcing relationships across all channels, because that’s how consumers are shopping.”

“Neiman has done a whole lot of work in understanding this cross-channel mix and bringing the channels together into a unified marketing strategy,” she said.

Just check in

While success stories abound of luxury brands effectively tapping mobile’s potential for driving conversions, the actual development process can be tricky.

“I think the challenges are, specifically, when you first build a mobile site or application, it’s the first time you have done something,” said Christoph Oberli, vice president of e-commerce at the Mandarin Oriental. “You basically don’t know what you don’t know, and the learning experience can be a challenge.”

Mandarin Oriental had to address such concerns early in the development process for its slate of mobile properties, which includes a website and an iPhone app, as well as a forthcoming iPad app. One challenge the company faced was in understanding what its target consumers wanted out of a mobile offering.

“You really need to understand your customer if you want to build a mobile presence – and even more so because it’s such a small screen,” Oberli said. “When you’re in such close proximity to your customer, you need to really understand the customer and what it is they want to do on a mobile site and build around that. That’s a prerequisite more than a challenge.”

The Mandarin Oriental PC website has the most content and images, whereas the mobile site is a spare experience that focuses on maximizing utility and minimizing clutter by providing only relevant information for individual travellers. Meanwhile, the application includes information dedicated to bringing destinations surrounding the brand’s hotels and serves more as a travel guide than the other platforms, while also enabling bookings.

“Our mobile site was a big push first, and led to a lot of visits and a decent amount of bookings,” Oberli said. “The application was built in a later stage and was more of an engaging tool.”

“All three of our platforms – the website, the mobile site and the app – are trying to form online touch points for our customers, and have slightly different purposes,” he said. “In other words, there is some consistent content across all three platforms, then some very specific items for each platform.”

Another challenge is development.

“We’re a small company, so we don’t have in-house development teams,” Oberli said. “With virtually everything we do, we work with a third party. The beauty of that is, as a luxury brand, you need to build the absolute best. Whatever you do has to be top quality everywhere.”

“In our case, we have worked with solid partners who built apps and mobile sites before, so we could alleviate some of that danger [of inexperience],” he said.

What now?

The luxury industry, at large, faces a few challenges in terms of mobile engagement. The first is that many luxury brands are still working to understand how to execute e-commerce strategies. Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan have only launched e-commerce-enabled websites in 2010. For such brands, mobile will be a catch-up game.

What’s more, many other luxury brands are reticent to adopt mobile commerce strategies for fear that they might lose some of their prestige and mystique by making items available on a sales channel even further removed from the traditional showroom experience than e-commerce is. Consumers, however, are shopping across channels. And mobile is becoming a bigger piece of the equation.

“Mobile enables luxury brands to reach consumers at each step in the marketing funnel – awareness, trial, persuasion and loyalty,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Luxury Daily (1). “The consumer is already on mobile – don’t fall too far behind.”

Source: Luxurysociety.com

(1) Luxury Daily is a trade publication covering luxury marketing and retail

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Gucci’s Digital Flagship: Crafting an Intensively Attentive Online Environment

On the eve of Gucci’s 90th anniversary as a luxury retailer, the firm’s CEO, Patrizio di Marco, describes why digital innovation is more than just a matter of relevance and modernity.

2681_patriziodimarco_mediumBesides being one of the most active luxury brands in the social media space – with nearly 3.2 million Facebook fans and a host of online initiatives including the live streaming of its catwalk shows and smart phone applications – Gucci is also the first luxury brand to launch a digital flagship.

“Gucci was in fact a pioneer when it launched its US e-commerce site in 2002 and we [still] believe that new media and new technologies represent a valuable complementary communication and business channel.”

“ The digital flagship is destined to become our highest volume store in the world ”

According to Di Marco, Gucci’s new online retail destination takes advantage of the most innovative technologies available today, integrating rich content, shopping and social networking to provide the site’s monthly 2.5 million unique visitors with an aesthetic and customer-oriented experience that replicates the one customers have when immersed in one of the brand’s signature flagships stores in Rome, New York, London or Shanghai.

From a strategic perspective, Gucci’s recent aggressive foray into digital media channels is a concerted effort to drive the digital flagship to outperform all brick-and-mortar store sales.

“The digital flagship is destined to become our highest volume store in the world, and should be the final destination for any search on the net: whether you are seeking out Gucci through a search engine, or are one of our 3.2 million Facebook fans, or are one of the over 840,000 people who have downloaded our Gucci App or are one of our 32,000 Twitter followers.”

While traditional luxury marketing focused on the protected environment of exclusive networks and publications, Gucci has been at the forefront of the movement which challenges the status quo by utilizing the web to expose the brand. In September of 2010, for instance, the brand invited its fans to virtually join the womenswear fashion show and even showcased the commentary and digital content of fans on a global site alongside the show’s live stream.

“One of the reasons Gucci has been successful in reaching new customers is because of the attention we have paid to the internet… The current site operates in 17 countries in 8 different languages, while e-commerce is offered in 12 countries with over 2000 skus available online.”

The brand has also integrated social media into the heart of the online shopping experience. A live Twitter feed, an interface with the Gucci official Facebook fan page and product page link to ready-to-wear items straight off the catwalk, allows visitors to truly engage with the brand.

Di Marco, together with Frida Giannini, Gucci’s creative director, have championed social networks as an integral part of the new site, suggesting they are a natural extension of the fashion shopping experience in the real world which is often shared and enjoyed with friends as well.

With such an active role in digital media, Gucci is not only using these channels as a very direct and content-rich form of outreach to tap into a broader audience but also to uncover metrics and insight on the site’s visitors in order to become a more attentive luxury brand – something which is difficult to do with customers entering brick-and-mortar stores.

“[Digital] is allowing us to develop more personal and constant relationships with current and prospective consumers. We are also able to understand the desires and attitudes of our customers more quickly and easily through the information that is available to us, which is helping us to be more responsive. Ultimately, our aim is to offer the same values and experience to an online customer or visitor as we do in our stores.”

Source: Luxurysociety.com

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Oscar de la Renta’s CEO: “why e-commerce works & how social media serves the fashion brand’s designers & merchandisers”

When the Improbable Is Also Profitable

2680_alexbolen_mediumBecause today’s luxury goods consumers are present across numerous channels, being there for them wherever they may be is a crucial aspect of business to get right, says Alex Bolen, Oscar de la Renta’s chief executive – and the man responsible for the fashion brand’s foray into e-commerce and social media.

“Our presence online has suggested to me that consumers are very quickly adjusting their behaviour to new modes of shopping and we need to really be out at the forefront of it. We have had many surprise anecdotes from having our brand online, anything from a $50,000 chinchilla coat sale through our website to completing a sale for a bridal dress via Twitter.”

For many luxury fashion brands, e-commerce has still not yet eclipsed the performance of physical stores but a very significant consumer appetite is present.

“ Our customer has taught us that there are moments where she will want to spend hours in a store shopping and there are moments where it’s a quick impulsive purchase ”

“When we first began thinking about e-commerce three to four years ago I was very sceptical that our brand would not fare well as, at that time, we were not particularly optimized in products that don’t have size requirements. Our bread and butter product is a $4 – 5,000 cocktail dress which is very fit intensive, in fact the perfectly fitted garment is an important part of our brand and this is something that seemed to me didn’t jive well with an online shopping experience.”

“I was wrong about that. Surprisingly we have had a very good reaction to our fit intensive products online. What we found in retrospect is that customers will order two different sizes and keep one of them.”

“Our customer has taught us that there are moments where she will want to spend hours in a store shopping and there are moments where it’s a quick impulsive purchase – as a luxury brand it’s important to us that we are present wherever our customer is.”

According to Bolen, e-commerce currently drives only 10% of the luxury fashion brand but it is growing very quickly. In a relatively short period of time, he forecasts Oscardelarenta.com to become the brand’s most prolific door.

One of the ways that the brand is extending its outreach to drive customers back to the site is through social media. Oscar de la Renta has taken a very creative approach to emerging media platforms such as creating a unique online personality for the brand on Twitter called OscarPRgirl. The brand uses Twitter as a channel to provide unique insight into the world of Oscar de la Renta and to engage with entirely new audiences as well supporting the interests of existing ones.

“We want to broaden our array of services to our customers as much as possible and services include consuming content. Everyone who goes to Oscardelarenta.com is a potential shopper – maybe they are a shopper today maybe they are a shopper in six months. As a brand we need to figure out a way to engage them and we need to offer services for wherever that person may stand on the potential customer spectrum.”“As a brand, we want to augment the initiatives online started by OscarPRgirl and speak more about what we are doing by explaining what our brand is about in more than just 140 characters. This means we want to extend our communications to areas such as rich video content and audio content.”

For a luxury brand like Oscar de la Renta, social media is proving to be much more than just a PR tool but one that is feeding business insights about the brand back to the company. “For Oscar de la Renta, social media has provided us with information on what our customers think, what they need, what they want and what they expect of us. From our jewellery offerings, accessories, scarves, etc. we have made many merchandising choices [and] many design choices based on feedback we got online.”“I am a big believer that you have to listen to your customers, and the online world has given us a new way to listen to our customers and we have learned to position ourselves based on what we hear.”

Source: Luxurysociety.com

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Four Powerful Strategies For How Luxury Brands Should Use Social Media

Luxury brands have a specific challenge in using social media: the need to retain the aura of exclusivity around their brands even as they embrace the inclusive, accessible nature of social media.

Here’s the solution: luxury brands should use social media in a manner that awareness of the brand’s promise is accessible while achievement of the brand’s promise is exclusive.

Here are four powerful strategies for how luxury brands should use social media to become accessible to fans but still remain exclusive for customers –

Luxury Brands Social Media

 

The four strategies are positioned along the accessibility-exclusivity continuum

1. Create awards, magazines and communities to interpret luxury lifestyle, fashion and design with your brand’s unique lens. Examples include LMVH NownessThierre Mugler WomanityD&G SwideWyndham Resorts Women on Their WayBMW Mini Space and Rolex Awards.

2. Leverage your brand’s desirability to create sharable digital artifacts. Examples include the Godiva virtual gift shop on Facebook and Hermes ties posters on Facebook.

3. Bring together designers, artists and customers to share how they interpret your brand. Examples include Burberry Art of the TrenchMac Artist TweetsCoach Design a Tote Contest and Sheraton Resorts Better When Shared.

4. Create a private invite-only social network like A Small World to underline your brand’s exclusivity. Examples include the Generation Benz community.

For more, do read (and share) our comprehensive guide to how luxury brands should use social media to become accessible to fans but still remain exclusive for customers.

Source: Thesocialcustomer.com

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Fashion 2.0: Magazines Capitalise on Shopable Content

Jennifer Aniston by Steven Klein | Source: W MagazineJennifer Aniston by Steven Klein | Source: W Magazine

In recent seasons, fashion brands have learnt to think like publishers, creating original digital content to earn attention and attract fans who will carry their message across the internet. But the reverse is also true: squeezed by shrinking advertising budgets, traditional content creators like magazines are learning to think like retailers, embracing e-commerce to open new revenue streams and monetise their content.

Click here to find out more!“Publishers are the number one generators of purchasing intent for brands every day, but are being allocated an ever shrinking amount of ad dollars,” said Philippe von Borries, co-founder and publisher of popular fashion website Refinery29.com.

Indeed, “intent generators” like magazines are losing their fair share of sales revenue to “intent harvesters” like shopping sites at the end of the purchasing process, observes internet entrepreneur Chris Dixon in an insightful blog post entitled “A Massive Misallocation of Online Advertising Dollars.”

Mr. Dixon suggests that better techniques for tracking how publishers generate purchase intent could lead to a more favorable allocation of advertising dollars, allowing content sites to focus purely on producing content. But many magazines are hedging their bets, becoming both “intent generators” and “intent harvesters” by launching their own online shops and integrating them into their editorial platforms.

Click here to find out more!

SHOPPING CHANNELS

Time Inc’s key fashion title InStyle first launched InStyle Shopping back in 2007, letting consumers browse and buy an edited array of products from retailers like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Bergdorf Goodman, and earning the magazine a share of the sales revenue. According to Simeen Mohsen, InStyle’s director of digital business operations, InStyle Shopping has “moved more than $10 million in product since launch.”

While InStyle declined to quantify exactly what this number means in terms of revenue for the magazine, other online publications and blogs earn 8 to 12 percent on clicks that lead to successful sales via affiliate programmes. Even if InStyle only earned about half as much  — say 5 percent — this would translate to $500 thousand in revenue since 2007.

The Business of Fashion

But ShopStyle, the social shopping engine that has powered InStyle Shopping since launch, states on their website: “The rate you are paid per click depends on a number of factors, including how often clicks result in sales for the retailer, the amount of each sale, and whether those products are returned for a refund. As a result, the rate you are paid can vary over time.”

Building on the success of InStyle Shopping, Time Inc. recently made a strategic move to deepen the integration of e-commerce across InStyle.com. In January, the publisher acquired StyleFeeder, a personal shopping engine that uses pattern recognition technology to make product recommendations. StyleFeeder is expected to be woven throughout InStyle’s website and replace the current partnership with ShopStyle. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Fran Hauser, head of digital strategy for the group that manages InStyle, explained: “Our editors are generating significant consumer demand for products in the retail market. And what StyleFeeder allows us to do is share in that value creation.”

Vogue iPad App Contents Vogue Brings Out Its First iPad App

InStyle isn’t the only magazine that’s been integrating e-commerce into its offering. Last November, Condé Nast’s Lucky magazine added online shopping to its editorial platform, bringing intent generation and intent harvesting together in one destination. “We felt strongly that we wanted to weave the eboutique into Luckymag.com rather than create a separate ecommerce site,” said Mary Gail Pezzimenti, Lucky magazine’s web director. “We believe that women want to shop alongside great fashion how-to advice, styling videos, fashion news and galleries of great outfits or hairstyles.”

Independent fashion titles have also been experimenting with e-commerce. Last Autumn, AnOther Magazine launched AnOther Shop, an online boutique with specially commissioned merchandise, from artworks by Jake and Dinos Chapman to laptop cases by Gareth Pugh. Then, a couple of months later, AnOther Magazine launched AnOther Loves, a product recommendation engine that sits alongside, but separate from AnOther Shop. It’s a bit like a collective blog, with product picks crowdsourced from a carefully selected list of contributors. “We wanted to turn this collection of desirable goods into a collaborative stream, and with a little semantics have realised this could be very useful for recommendations,” said Alistair Allan, digital director at Dazed Group which publishes AnOther.

CURATED COMMERCE

Magazine brands are also positioning themselves to generate and harvest purchase intent beyond their websites. During London Fashion Week in February, AnOther Loves teamed up with London department store Liberty on an initiative called AnOther Loves Liberty, a curated selection of Liberty products that appeared on AnOther Loves, as well as on Liberty’s website and at their Tudor-style flagship.

Partnerships with sample sale sites have also been popular. Lucky has teamed up with Net-a-Porter’s online outlet, theOutnet.com, to host flash sales curated by Lucky editors, Hachette Filipacchi’s Elle magazine has a deal with Rue La La and Vogue is partnering with Gilt Groupe to let consumers shop select products from the current issue.

SHOPABLE ADVERTISING

A few weeks ago, Vogue also launched an iPhone app designed to make the magazine’s advertising shopable. Called Vogue Stylist, the app is loaded with styling advice and monthly trends supplied by Vogue editors, alongside products advertised in the magazine, which consumers can browse, mix and match with items uploaded from their own closet, and ultimately click to buy. “Vogue Stylist pairs a user’s wardrobe with products from Vogue advertisers to produce a look that is both chic and new,” said Holly Tedesco, integrated marketing director at Vogue. Using the camera built into the iPhone, the app even allows readers to scan and shop physical ad pages in Vogue’s print issue.

FULL INTEGRATION

But some magazines are going beyond branded shopping channels, curated e-commerce partnerships and shopable advertising. They are integrating e-commerce directly into their center-of-book editorial. This month, W magazine launched a shopping guide alongside images of covergirl Jennifer Aniston, with numbered bullets — and links to external shopping sites — that correspond to the clothing Ms. Aniston wears. Indeed, the integrated shopping guides appear in all of W’s fashion spreads for April.

If this kind of deep integration of commerce and core editorial content appears to pose an inherent conflict of interest, it’s worth remembering that at fashion magazines, these lines have long been blurred. Across the industry, the products featured in editorial are often a function of a magazine’s advertisers.

Furthermore, in the real lives of fashion consumers, magazines and shopping are already integrated. People have used magazines as inspirational product guides since their very inception, a behaviour that’s even easier now that editorial sites and online shops are just a click or tab away from each other. So why shouldn’t publishers offer shopping services that streamline the process for consumers and capture a share of the sales revenue that’s rightfully theirs?

That’s not to say that an independent stylistic point of view is not important. It’s tremendously important. It’s what attracts readers in the first place. Going forward, the most successful magazines will be those who are able to maintain their unique point of view, while capitalising on content that’s shopable. A contradiction? Not necessarily. A challenge? Definitely.

“Over the next few months we will be launching several new commerce products,” said von Borries of Refinery29. “We firmly believe that commerce should be an integral element of a digital content site that features new fashion products, trends and designers every hour. Commerce and community also belong together. Whoever does not embrace the two will lose out in the long run.”

Indeed, people love to shop, but even more than that, they love to shop together. While forward-thinking youth apparel brands like Vans have experimented with realtime social shopping, letting users share the experience of customising shoes, we’ve yet to see a content site that lets readers explore and shop fashion together, in realtime.

Source: Businessoffashion.com by Vikram Alexei Kansara is Managing Editor of The Business of Fashion

 

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Google Boutiques.com, a World of Fashion

Google unveils a new shopping portal, Boutiques.com. It showcases the power of search in the world of fashion. You can shop and choose from a variety of styles, designs and collections of famous designers and stylists. Shoppers can easily catch up with the trend because it allows users to save likes or dislikes in the site.

Shopping is the watchword today. Almost everyone around the globe is on a Shopping spree. Google understands this and thus, has launched a new shopping portal entitled Boutiques.com to add on to its almost full kitty of world class products and services. The portal, as they say, combines the goodness of both social and search. It allows for finding and discovering styles and fashions collections that have been put together by renowned celebrities, designers, stylists and fashion experts, to name a few.

Through this site, Google will be able to analyze the tastes of consumers by ways of a number of clicks, Google Trend data, computer vision and machine learning technology and ultimately, letting them know the entire world of fashion. As is the case with Youtube,  whenever a user logs into his/her account, the site would know the user’s taste for fashion and recommend those results that suit the taste.

Google got the technology from its acquisition of Like.com, along with which came the technology team behind it. They were already working hard on that and had also launched a site of their own called WhatToWear.com. The team at Google now consists of PhDs in Computer Science and Fashion Designers and Stylists. In fact, it is an amalgamation of computer nerds and fashion nerds. Altogether, the team is working on creating a new route to browse, find and buy world class fashion under one roof.

Source: Marketingconversation.com by ROBIN PANGILINAN

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HOW TO: Score the Best Fashion Deals on the Social Web

Mollie Vandor is the Product Manager for Ranker.com and Media Director for Girls in Tech LA. You can find her on Twitter and on herblog, where she writes about the web, the world and what it’s like to be a geek chic chick.

Just because the economy is still depressed doesn’t mean you have to be. In fact, there are plenty of ways to live it up without seeing your bank balance plummet — especially if you know how to use social media to live the good life on tight budget.

Even the most reclusive social media shut-ins need to leave the house for some in-person networking at some point. And when you do, you don’t want to look like the poor slob who just threw on whichever pants were closest to the computer screen. Nor do you want to be the designer diva who can’t afford cab fare because she blew all her bucks on a brand name bag. Fortunately, thanks to a few online tips and tricks, high fashion doesn’t have to come with a high price tag.


Smell the Savings


 

 

 

 

Coco Chanel once said, “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” While Coco may have been overstating her case a bit, it’s true that perfume and cologne are great accessories to any outfit. Of course, buying the good stuff can also be a great way to flush a fortune down the drain. That’s why sample sizes should be your new best body-odor-fighting friend.

Don’t let their small size fool you — one of these little bottles will still probably give you a good six months of sweet scents, depending on how heavily you use it. Sample perfumes start as low as $1.99 on AmazonAmazon.com, and because they’re so small, shipping is extremely cheap. If you buy from a bigger retailer like FragranceNet, they’ll also usually throw in other goodies like more perfume or makeup samples.


Personal Stylists Are Out of Style


 

 

 

 

Before you buy any clothes to go with that signature scent, use a site like Polyvore or ShopStyle to be your own personal wardrobe stylist — no hefty retainer required. These sartorial social networks let you “try before you buy” by giving you the tools to put together looks online, so you can see how clothes and accessories will work together.

With huge databases of designer duds, this is a great way to test drive an outfit before you spend cold, hard cash on it, and a great way to keep track of what you already have in your closet. Plus, with everyone posting different looks, these are also great places to get inspiration for new ways to wear the stuff you’ve already shelled out the cash for.


Keep Your Cash


 

 

 

 

When you are ready to make a big clothing or beauty purchase, make sure you use a service like eBates, which gives you a percentage of what you spend on their partner sites back as a cash rebate. So, it’s basically like you’re paying yourself to shop — or at least that’s what you can tell yourself to justify spending so much on shoes.


Sample Sale Sites


 

 

 

 

Of course, you can avoid spending full price on anything by signing up for a private sale site. These sites are the online equivalent of a sample sale, giving you exclusive access to amazing deals on designer looks. And, many of them will even e-mail you when a sale matching your particular preferences pops up.

With so many sale sites to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which ones are worth opening your inbox too. If you’re looking for basics like great jeans or tees, then BlueFly is probably your best bet. This mainstream online shopping mall also has a fantastic private sale area, where anyone can browse big discounts on designer duds from brands like Theory, Prada and Louboutin. You don’t even have to sign up to use it, although registered users can ask to be notified about new deals via e-mail.

If you’re into the higher end of high fashion, then Gilt GroupeNet-A-Porter and Haute Look are all great bets for big name brands. Gilt Man gives guys the same exclusive deals on a site built just for them. Gilt Groupe even has an iPhone/iPad/Android app to let you shop sales on the go. Net-A-Porter lets you do the same from your iPhone/iPad.

For more unique, up-and-coming designers, head to Rue La La, which has a slightly younger aesthetic and a lot of fun, playful finds. If you’ve got little ones to outfit too, use Zulily. They’ve got great clothes and accessories for kids, and a few things for mom too.


Vintage: Everything Old is New Again


 

 

 

 

If brand new brands aren’t your bag, the web is also a great place to track down fabulous vintage finds, which often cost far less than their shiny new counterparts. In the dark ages before the InternetInternet, finding that amazing designer piece of vintage clothing was like searching for the proverbial needle in a big, messy thrift store haystack. But now, there are some great options for perusing the previously worn racks from the comfort of your computer screen.

EtsyRusty ZipperArchive Vintage and Posh Girl Vintage are just a few of the places where you can score hot looks with a little bit of history behind them. CMadeleines has a great listing of vintage duds by designers, including pieces by Chanel, Dior and Hermes. And, TheFrock has fantastic vintage dresses, including a great bridal boutique.

Speaking of brides, if you’re looking to accessorize all of those fabulous outfits you just bought online, you can score great jewelry deals — including deeply discounted bridal bling — at I Do, Now I Don’t. This site specializes in the sale of jewels by scorned exes who want to unload them fast for much less than what they were purchased for in the first place. You can bid on necklaces, bracelets, rings and more, or buy them outright. Just try to avoid reading the stories about why the items are being sold, unless you want to spend a whole lot more in retail therapy to get your mood back up.


Why Buy When You Can Rent?


 

 

 

 

If you just need a single look for a particular event, or you want to get all the benefits of a brand name buy without all that pesky commitment and cold, hard cash, then you want a runway rental service. These sites offer what A-list celebrities have been privy to for years; borrowing. Designer duds and amazing accessories can be rented for far less than you’d pay to actually own them.

It’s sort of like Netflix for your closet. Bag, Borrow or Steal and From Bags to Riches offer amazing purses and accessories, and Rent the Runway has clothing options guaranteed to get even the most finicky fashionista frothing at the mouth — or the keyboard, as the case may be.


Fashion Goes Social


 

 

 

 

Even if you’re not necessarily an online shopper — or renter — you can still get great gear at low prices using the web. You can follow brands like Louis Vuitton on FoursquareFoursquare and Toms Shoes on GowallaGowalla for insider info, good deals and the chance to win great stuff.

Or you can use Stylophane to quickly find your favorite fashion brands on FacebookFacebook. If you want to find coupons you can use in the real world, CheapTweet will let quickly scan everyone who is sharing a fashion or beauty sale on TwitterTwitter in real time, so you know which coupons to print out and which ones to pass on. You can also send a tweet to @couponbot with the name of your favorite store, and see what deals come back.

Of course, you should also make sure you accessorize your favorite mobile device with an app like ShopSavvy, which lets you scan bar codes of stuff you’re thinking about buying to see if there’s a better price elsewhere. Because if you’re paying the bill for a decent smartphone data plan, you definitely can’t afford to pay full price for fashion when there’s a sale going on somewhere else.

No matter what your style, saving money is always in. Especially with the recession turning penny-pinching into the hottest trend for fall. But thanks to the Internet, you can be on top of that trend – and many more – without a lot of extra effort or energy. Because saving money on style is great. But saving money on style while sitting at home in your pajama pants is even better.

Original Source: Mashable.com

 

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AHAlife.com: Telling The Stories Behind The Objects We Buy

Did you ever think that your AHA! moments could appear in the form of a socially conscious curation of wonderful things to buy online?

AHAlife, which launched on September 13 during Fashion Week, lends a daily dose of shopping inspiration to its readers.  Named after the word “aha,” the universal sound of discovery, this website offers an innovative approach to invite-only online shopping.

AHAlife’s mission is to showcase one new product every 24 hours by placing the unique item and its designer in the spotlight.  After all, their motto is, “1 Product. 24 Hours. 100% Inspiring.  AHAlife’s team of global curators brings the best the world has to offer right to your doorstep.”

Shauna Mei, the CEO and founder of AHAlife, recently spoke with JC Report to discuss the inspiration and philosophy behind AHAlife. Mei noted that AHAlife is about filling the design voids in various places in our lives.

Cultivating Internationally Sophisticated Luxury Consumers

We were fascinated by the concepts that Mei discussed, so we spoke with her on how her full life taught her about globally sophisticated luxury shoppers.

Mongolian-born Mei was raised in Communist China, where her father was a diplomat responsible for establishing relationships with anthropologists. Mei’s family moved to the US after the Tienanmen Square massacre. Mei attended MIT where she studied electrical engineering. Later, Mei starting working at Goldman Sachs, providing luxury marketing advice to luxury brand Neiman Marcus. Mei assisted Neiman Marcus in expansion into emerging luxury markets such as Japan and China. When the current recession began, Mei moved to Stockholm to study design. Her experiences in Stockholm, coupled with her work on launching luxury brands in emerging luxury markets enabled Mei to develop what she calls an “integrated 360 view of luxury lifestyle and culture.” In this, marketers have to think about their target consumer and learn how those target customers purchase. From the knowledge, luxury marketers can create sustainable business models that incite more sophisticated, affluent customers to buy.

Discovering Our Own Micro Aha Moments

The entire premise of AHAlife is collective curation and dialogue.  The website aims to create a joint dialogue between one buyer and one merchant. As the site develops, products will become increasingly tailored and customized to the individual customer.

From our initial registration to spending two weeks taking part of the customer experience the site created, we noticed many things (aside from the products) that made us fall in love with AHAlife in a multidimensional way. There were barely noticeable details that someone just taking a quick look at the site might not notice.

  1. Registration: When we registered, we were asked to tell a story. Macala told her story of how she broke her black wardrobe cycle with a fuchsia Rebecca Minkoff bag and how she believed it helped her land a new client.
  2. Tangible bites of information: AHAlife showcases one product per day, and provides only a week’s worth of information on the calendar. We anticipated and opened our daily email as eagerly as we wait for GOOP and Design*Sponge to hit our inbox.
  3. WHERE an item was discovered: This little sentence located on the bottom of a product story completed the passion we have for this website. It feels like a scavenger hunt for the best items in the world has taken place, and the treasures have been put in front of the right audience for the right purchase and exposure. Beautifully thought out marketing strategy!

Ahalife’s Modus Operandi

BNET believes that Mei’s experience and modus operandi will help set AHAlife apart in the crowded, competitive e-commerce world. AHAlife’s model is a consistent theme among recent fashion site launches. But what makes AHAlife unique is that the site shares the story behind the showcased object, through beautiful photography and heartfelt text.

Different than a fashion flash sale site, AHAlife caters to the savvy consumer who looks for amazing items from around the world that are not found on every warehouse based site.  Instead of seeing items chosen by the same person or few people, AHAlife aims to keep its content fresh by featuring curators from around the world (including some famous people with discerning taste), and even from within its community.

Shoppers can find an array of products on AHAlife that will meet their design needs.  Categories include:  Optimize Me, Dress Me, Nourish Me, Design Me, Treat Me, Go with Me, Enlighten Me and Surprise Me.  Since AHAlife closes the gap between designer and consumer, shoppers can be assured that the cool items they discover on AHAlife will be available for them to meet their design demands.

So, is AHAlife’s marketing strategies effective in attracting affluent, sophisicated shoppers?

According to Mei, it is extremely successful. Thus far, AHAlife reports:

  • Rapid, organic conversations about the site that have led to viral, word of mouth that has exceeded their expectations. Because of this, they read every registration, granting access to members based on their responses. They are going against the traditional VC recommendation of rapid user acquisition, instead focusing on building a quality community.
  • Email open rates that are 2-3 times the industry average, followed by sell through of the products in those emails, with the most traffic areas being Optimize Me (life efficiency) and Enlighten Me (showing the customer more in an obtainable way).
  • The “sticky” factor, or what we consider user retention, has been the collective curation of the products, services and organization presented to the community.  The site’s “be a guest curator” feature has shown community members that tastemakers come from everywhere.

With a jump start in social media, AHAlife shares its daily finds with its communities via Twitter and Facebook, in addition to its website.  The company is reaching out across various mediums to ensure that each handpicked item is seen (and heard).

If you are interested in AHAlife, there are a few ways to get involved.  You can request an invitation and apply to be a guest curator.

Original Source: Fashionablymarketing.me by Krista Peck on 10/04/2010

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Google AdWords Marketing Tutorial: For Beginners

AdWords is Google’s flagship advertising product and main source of revenue.

AdWords offers Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for text, banner, and rich-media ads.

The AdWords program includes local, national, and international distribution. Google’s text advertisements are short, consisting of one headline and two additional text lines. Image ads can be one of several different Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standard sizes.

Check out this beginners guide to Adwords and get started with promoting yourself, your website, your products or your services online!

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