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Pandora for pants: are personal shopping services the future of retail?
By Kathy Oneto for Fast Company

Celebrities have long had stylists to pick out the perfect wardrobe for them, so why not offer everyone that same luxury? That’s the main idea behind new several new personal shopping services, which use digital data to deliver curated fashions via mobile app and website. According to Oneto:

“Consumers are looking for help in simplifying their lives today, and these services do more for them while requiring less time and effort. Beyond just appearing hip and new, these new personalization sites attempt to solve a consumer problem by making the shopping experience more fulfilling and successful.”

The three companies highlighted use questionnaires detailing personal style and size preferences to help consumers find items for themselves and pick out gifts for friends and loved ones. Imagine how accurate apps like these can be in the future by tying in purchase histories, sentiment data, and more.

Shazam for clothes identifies what tv characters are wearing
By Daniela Walker for PSFK

Shazam is entering the shoppable media space, and their strategy has legs. Shazam first made a name for itself by identifying the name and artist of a song for users who simply had to hold their mobile device up while the song was playing. Now the popular app is venturing into the fashion industry by identifying the clothing characters are wearing on television. Walker explains:

“Shazam is seeking to increase consumer engagement by allowing them to tag the TV show to find out what the cast are wearing, and then link them directly to an online store.”

The app uses the same technology as always to identify the sound from the show and provide information based on what scene is playing via a shoppable second-screen experience. With one simple click, users can find and purchase the clothing that their favorite actor or actress is wearing on screen. This is a big advance in the field of shoppable TV – the content is delivered to consumers who have opted in to receive it, in the highly relevant context of their current program.

 ‘Teen Vogue,’ ‘Essence’ magazines add online shopping carts

By Lauren Indvik for Mashable 

Teen Vogue and Essence style magazines have joined a growing number of publications that are integrating ecommerce options on their websites.

Essence has added a “Beauty Matchmaker” tool to present women with various options of foundations, lipsticks, and shadows that complement their complexion – highly relevant recommendations tailored specifically to the consumer. Products can be purchased right on the Essence site, turning the publication into something reminiscent of Home Shopping Network – expert editorial around a product’s merits with an option to immediately buy.

Teen Vogue will launch its online shopping feature with Back to School merchandise this Fall. Like “Essence” it will feature products from various retailers and consumers will checkout right on the site using the shopping cart.

Just like the previous two examples, these magazines are attracting shoppers to purchases with great content and personalized recommendations, rather than pushy sales pitches. Expect this trend to continue.

Women shop online, but still buy in stores
By Karl Greenberg for MediaPost News (Marketing Daily)

The majority of women shoppers research products online first, but many are still likely to purchase items in stores, according to a new study. Out of the 2,152 women surveyed, 89% said they use primarily laptops, smartphones, or tablets to do preliminary research products before buying them, while only 6 percent said they do their main research by browsing within the store.

But brick-and-mortar stores are still very involved in the purchase process, writes Greenberg:

“When it comes to the actual transaction, stores get more respect. Forty-seven percent of women polled said they use computers, while 45% shop in-store.”

The takeaway is that while women now prefer to research purchases digitally, they’re still nearly equally as likely to make their purchase in a store as online. All of a brand’s channels must therefore work together to capture the sale wherever the consumer wants to make it. Make all of the information women look for online – reviews, additional colors, product use videos, Q&A – available in stores via mobile apps, in-store kiosks, store signage, etc. And online, include options like reserve in-store and ship-to-store to capture that offline sale.

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