Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Lucky at Your Service

Personally I’m a big fan of the iPhone and shopping. So, when Lucky Magazine (which I also happen to be a fan of) found a way to combine shopping and the iPhone, I was intrigued.

Early last week, Lucky released an app called “Lucky at Your Service” which essentially acts as a virtual personal shopper, and checks the inventories of your local stores. The catch? The only merchandise currently available within the app are shoes featured within the March edition of Lucky Magazine. Perfect if you love shoes, not so perfect if you were looking to snag a handbag or a myriad of other items featured within the pages of Lucky.

At this time, the app is free to download and according to the New York Times:

Lucky […] has even hired a call center, staffed with 20 to 200 representatives, who will confirm that the shoe is available and set it aside, text-messaging a shopper that, say, Jessie in the second-floor salon shoe department at the downtown Nordstrom has set it aside.

In their article, NYT also addresses a valid point: in an economy where few people are shopping, is an iPhone app that targets shoppers, really a formula for success? My answer: if they incorporate some sort of “sale alert” mechanism, then yes.

Lucky At Your Service

Lucky At Your Service

Lucky is one of the few publications that can successfully pull off a mobile application like this, in an economy like this, and that’s due in large part, to their core demographic: shoppers.

Lucky is, and always has been, a magazine targeted towards people who love to shop.

The entire magazine reads like a giant advertisement, and positions itself as the ultimate shopping guide. People who subscribe to Lucky are people who like to shop– they’re not just in it for the fashion, like people who subscribe to other fashion or style magazines. When you couple this with the fact that readers of Lucky actually enjoy shopping, and statistically have more money to “burn” than their average Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Elle, and Glamour counterparts, it makes sense. Releasing a social application like Lucky At Your Service targets this specific demographic in an incredibly unique way, and caters to a niche audience while providing a useful service that no other magazine has done. In addition to this, Lucky has found a way to keep their magazine relevant: by tying in the application to the magazine itself, as opposed to the website, they are promoting consumption of their “bread and butter” as opposed to a free resource, like the website.

And to that, I say kudos– and happy shopping. Now, if they’d only expand it to at least include handbags and other critical “accessory” items, I’d be happy.

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Pottery Barn: Where’s your Community?

Back in July I bought my first place– a purchase that has completely changed the way I shop. Now, instead of only perusing stores and websites for jeans, tops, and accessories, I find myself checking out the home section too. I’m excited by looking at paint swatches and watching HGTV’s “My First Place” and seeing how others “pull it all together.” And right now, I’m also quietly obsessed with Pottery Barn. 

Pottery Barn‘s website is pretty robust– they have a “Style House” section that features videos, design tips “for every room,” design tools, and heck, they even have a “furniture facts” section– where you can learn about your new sectional. But what their site lacks is a community element– something that surprised me. Continue reading

Social Networking– Target: Teen/tween Girls

Recently Tampax (yes, that Tampax) launched an online community for teen and tween girls, called the MonthlyGiftClub. The community focuses on brand awareness, membership and encourages girls to participate by providing free product samples and customizable avatars.

The site is a seemingly natural hybrid between teen magazines “gross out” stories, SecondLife, and branded online marketing/communities, but to me, it seems to miss its mark, courtesy of the site’s focus: hygiene.

Perhaps I’m too out of touch with teen and tweenage girls, but the first thing that came to mind was, “what teenage or tweenage girl would want to share and collaborate about ‘that.'” I fondly remember reading YM Magazine and scanning the “OMG” stories that showcase girls’ most embarrassing moments– each focusing on making the reader feel better about themselves and their lives. (Mostly because you were so thankful that your day wasn’t as bad as the girl who slipped on a puddle of milk in the cafeteria and mooned her entire class). I have a hard time believing that same type of subconscious validation and ego patting will take place in this community, though I could be wrong.

Most girls turn to online communities as an escape or an extension of themselves– that’s why sites like SecondLife succeed. But just like any other product review, when things matter, people typically trust people they know before anonymous faces or products they meet online. Perhaps I’m outdated, but isn’t this the sort of conversation typically reserved for mothers and daughters, or sisters?

It’s possible I’m totally off my mark, but from the look of the site it seems like a much too stuffy format to lure legitimate community members in. Maybe with a redesign and a little less emphasis on the “blush worthy” products like feminine hygiene they’d find success. Until then, it looks like another community for the sake of community.

Fashion Collaboration

I’ll admit it: I like love to shop. So, when I find a shopping site that enables collaboration I get just a little excited– my two favorite things in one spot… what could be better? 

A prime example of this dynamic duo are the ShopStyle sites– designed for fashion, home, and children, each site also provides a collaborative counterpart that enables you to shop, match outfits, and share your best looks with your friends and other users. Much like a lot of tech sites out there, these sites inform you of what’s hot right now, what other people are buying, and what to watch for.

It’s the natural, online evolution of Cosmopolitan, Glamour, People, etc. but in a more accessible, consumable format, as these sites offer what those magazines’ advertisers can only dream of– point and click purchasing. 

So get out there– start shopping and collaborating, and create your dream look book, or join a trend group.