Earlier this week I published a piece on my PSFK column on successful e-commerce sites. I’ve expanded the article a bit here. As we know, the traditional customer conversion funnel is gone. In order to win the hearts and wallets of digitally savvy consumers, brands must create innovative experiences that are so delightful, entertaining, or genuinely useful their target consumers can’t resist coming back for more. Brands need to consider the following five principals when building a successful e-commerce presence. Here’s a look at six companies blazing digital trails.
As eCommerce continues to disrupt luxury brands, Marc Jacobs makes another play as a luxury brand to watch with their digital marketing. Today, the brand has launched a new website with a companion mobile site, even further spiffed up with over the top social sharing to your favorite curation sites, PayPal integration and shipping to Canada.
At the WWD Digital Forum Fall Conference, top digital marketing masterminds shared their insights into leveraging social and digital platforms to enhance the consumer experience behind some of our favorite luxury brands. Below are a few of FMM’s top five highlights:
Partnering with American Express & Saks Fifth Avenue, BAZAAR Launches Content-To-Commerce Initiative
Founded in 1867, Harper’s BAZAAR is America’s first fashion magazine. It’s been quite a year – or should we say 18 months – for BAZAAR, Hearst’s acquisition of Elle (2011) lead to a luxury-leaning redesign for the publication in print and online this past March. Since then the book has 10.8% increase in circulation. This past week, Advertising Age named BAZAAR #2 on it’s magazine A-List. Now, the publication achieves another fashion first, partnering with American Express to bring authentic content-to-commerce to life with ShopBAZAAR.
During L2 Think Tank’s “Commerce: E, M and F” session, Donald Chesnut, Chief Experience Officer, SapientNitro presented a talk on “Connected Retail: Optimizing the Customer Experience from Attraction to Transaction.” As the web and consumers evolve, the lines between the physical and digital are increasingly blurred, they’re either being enhancing one another or distracting from one another.
Disruption, Innovation, Collaboration, Social Business, Enterprise 2.0…all of these terms are associated with the ways in which brands are coming terms when developing new e-commerce models. To gain insight, cut through the jargon and find out the true impact of digital commerce on retail, we turned to L2 Think Tank’s summit on Commerce: E, F and M held last month in New York. James Edis, a professor at NYU Stern and the VP, Emerging Technologies Group at HBO, shared his insights on how social and digital trends are impacting, and disrupting, eCommerce for prestige, luxury brands. Here are nine ways statistics that may surprise you that are vital to luxury brand’s success in the online space.
- It takes 93 percent of specialty retailers over three days to ship new orders. Over 50 percent take more than five (5) days to credit returns. Bluefly takes three weeks, which may be a sign of financial trouble.
- Retailers think that on-site search, online promotions and website utility are most important things to consumers. That’s not true, consumers care about transparency in inventory, tracking order progress and they also want in-store pickup options. Nordstrom, Coach, Crate & Barrel and Zara are offering in-store pick up options, an extremely complex process to achieve successfully.
- Frightening Mobile Stats: One in ten people have their phone within reach of the shower; 33 percent of millennials have their phone next to their bed and check Facebook and email before they get out of bed. Mobile and m-commerce are progressing so rapidly that retailers struggle to catch up, mobile is going from $0 to $50 billion in the next 36 months. Amazon holds 37 percent of the market share.
- Retailers are now getting more traffic from iPads than iPhones and Android. Consumers are 20 percent more likely to buy off a tablet than a mobile site.
- One in two households with incomes over $150,000 will have an iPad. They are comfortable making high price purchases on their tablet.
- Customers would rather be served by a non-organic point of purchase. Estee Lauder showed that customers that interacted with the Clinique iPad app are more likely to buy and convert to purchase than talking to someone behind a counter.
- Connecting online to offline is the biggest hurdle for retailers. Macy’s and Banana Republic allow you to book online style appointments and go in-store for consultation. Oscar De La Renta offers customers the option to have stylist review their purchases before it ships.
- Facebook commerce is dead. Only Oscar De La Renta and L’Occtaine have e-commerce shops. Facebook conversions to e-commerce site sales is slower than most other channels. F-Commerce was clearly a fad of 2009-2012.
- Amazon, eBay, Alibaba and Apple have deep access to cheap capital. If Amazon wants to build a distribution in south in order to fulfill an order in Alabama in 4 hours, they can. Amazon touches one in five consumers globally online. They’re investing cheap capital into sustainable, long-term competitive advantage. Amazon is creating the infrastructure to enable consumers to achieve the instant gratification that buying in physical store does. Amazon has acquired My Habit, ShopBop and is launching Amazon Lockers. Amazon touts taking online sales to 3x in 18 months to brands that come on board, brands like Tumi and Swarovski are already experimenting. Amazon is the great white shark of retailing.
To watch the full video, and to discover why Amazon is a great white shark, visit FORA.tv for the complete video series.
About L2 Think Tank: L2 is a think tank for digital innovation. We are a membership organization that brings together thought leadership from academia and industry to help brands navigate the changing digital landscape. Drawing from our proprietary Digital IQ Index? research, best practices, and emerging trends, L2 distills this intellectual capital and makes it actionable for our members. Images courtesy of L2 Think Tank.
Disclosure: Fora.TV is an strategic partner and advertiser of InsideFMM.com. The company provide access to its content to FMM. Editorial and content is original to FMM’s site.
This past week, I wrote a piece on how to properly build a digital strategy for my mashable column. Here’s the longer version.
In the past five years, I’ve had the privilege of constructing dynamic, complex digital strategies on behalf of numerous retail, entertainment and luxury clients. But often, clients confuse what strategy is – and what it isn’t – and how to actually develop one.
Create. Heart. Reblog. Repeat. It’s a platform that’s home to some of the best content creators out there. And since Tumblr’s simplicity makes it easy to use, it’s no wonder it acquires new users at a rapid rate. As of August 23, Tumblr has a whopping 70.2 million blogs with 30.3 billion posts. And those numbers keep climbing.
It’s come a long way since its February 2007 founding by David Karp. For any clue to guess what’s next, let’s take a step back and recap the evolution of one of FMM’s favorite tumblelogs.
A Blog for Beginners
Within its first month’s launch, Tumblr nabbed 50,000 bloggers. Tech Crunch quickly sang its praises and noted Tumblr was “poised to gain the attention of the less web savvy masses who have been wondering for some time ‘what the blogging stuff is all about.’”
In other words, Tumblr came in at the right time to fill the void between social network sites Facebook and MySpace. It became the new home for those looking to easily post original content with custom themes or for those who simply wanted to curate/consume unique information. A site with a small learning curve attracted the masses and kept retainment high.
Fashion blogger Sara Zucker used Tumblr for almost five years. “A friend of mine suggested it to me at the time and I loved its community aspect, that I could post and receive instantaneous feedback,” Sara says. “I was a member of the AOL chatroom generation, so this felt like the next step.”
What also made Tumblr unique was the dashboard feature. Tumblr blogs had public-facing pages and the dashboard acted as an engaging, behind-the-scenes live feed of posts from blogs users followed.
Whether bloggers posted anything original or just simply wanted to curate, the content within this new platform was a healthy mix ranging from text, photos, quotes, links and videos. After noticing trends from the types of content posted, Tumblr then rolled-out the community aspect that created the ability to connect with more like-minded content creators.
Tumblr Meets NYFW
Since about one third of its content was fashion-focused, Tumblr harvested this communal potential. Enter New York Fashion Week. In February 2011, the then-Tumblr fashion director invited 24 fashion bloggers to cover the fall 2011 shows in NYC. Eight bloggers were based in NYC and the remaining were flown-in from all over the world.
With complete travel and NYC lodging accommodations, the “Tumblr 24” had access to NYFW shows, designer showrooms, exclusive lunches and more. Participants included Jessica Quirk of What I Wore, John Jannuzzi of TEXTBOOK and Sara Zucker of farpitzs, just to name a few.
“By far, one of my favorite experiences in the two seasons I spent as a member of “Tumblr Fashion Week” was meeting Betsey Johnson,” Sara says. “Her archival pieces shaped a lot of what has become my current personal style and to be in a room with such a huge personality and talent in the industry was a monumental moment.”
Tumblr never officially announced how the selection process worked for the Tumblr 24, but these bloggers shared a common thread: their audience was large, diverse and engaged.
Throughout the course of the week, blogger’s #NYFW posts were funneled into a live stream on tumblr.com/nyfw along with other content from sponsored brands. This feed served as the world’s invitation to have immediate access to the NYFW conversation all happening via Tumblr. Tumblr also produced the #NYFW program the following spring 2012.
A recent valuation of $800 million made by last year’s VC investment put pressure on Karp’s team to come up with a proper revenue model. Similar to Mark Zuckerberg’s intent, Karp was more interested in creating the perfect product before saturating it with advertisements that could detract his loyal content creators.
As a unique solution for ad revenue, Tumblr’s “Radar” appeared on user dashboards April 2012. Receiving about 120 million daily impressions, Tumblr’s Radar posts usually ran in the form of a curated image or popular post. Adidas purchased a month-long advertising campaign to promote content from the timely Euro 2012 championship. Adidas also was promoted on the site’s “spotlight” channel mixed with other sports blogs.
Bottega Veneta was the first luxury fashion label to run on Tumblr’s Radar and Spotlight ad units in June. In order for these sponsored posts to differentiate themselves from regular posts, these units were marked with a small dollar sign by the blog name.
Tumblr and eCommerce
With hundreds of products displayed on Tumblr’s dashboard, plenty of users wondered how to shop the items they stumble upon. Unless a direct eCommerce URL is provided, users have to waste time searching elsewhere.
Some of Tumblr’s fashion blogs combined content with commerce. Of a Kind, for instance, was one of Tumblr’s first fashion blogs to enter the eCom space. Powered by Shopify, Of a Kind showcases limited-edition pieces with a strong editorial focus behind the inspiration and personal life of each featured designer.
“It was really about making consumers feel a sense of connection to the designers,” co-founder Erica Cerulo said at a Third Wave Fashion NYC meetup. “For us, we build out the story first, then sell the product. The idea is that everyone has a story to tell and so once we find a designer we’re really excited about, we know that finding a story won’t be a struggle.”
So far, Tumblr hasn’t shown any interest in entering the eCom space itself; however, it continues to encourage third parties to develop their own systems.
Coexist Digital, an agency based in Portland, created the first commerce platform for Tumblr to power the back end for brands in an attempt to bridge the gap. Since its launch in June, brands can use Coexist to host their shoppable products without consumers leaving the Tumblr page they’re on. For Founder and Principal Dan Coe, he believes in the strength of the Tumblr community for many brands.
“Our goal is to ad another dimension to the experience for the audience,” Dan says. “Shopping functionality won’t take over the experience or compromise brand engagement—it will facilitate online behavior that’s already happening.”
With Coexist, brands can input default shopping units or include a link to “shop this.” When finished filling carts with product, a “checkout” tab at the top of the Tumblr blog redirects shoppers instantly to the retailer’s checkout. Redirecting to a secure, retailer checkout establishes trust for the consumer during the final checkout.
Coexist serves partners in two ways: green-level partners (entrepreneurs and small businesses) can create a free account, personalize a shoppable theme and start selling in minutes. Black-level partnerships are for more established brands with enterprise requirements providing customized solutions. Coexist takes three percent of Tumblr sales and its payment processor, Stripe, takes 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction.
And when it comes to successful commerce opportunities via Tumblr, Dan believes exclusivity sells. “Partners need to be open to offering their customers new ways to shop,” Dan says. “The audience is looking for something they can’t find anywhere else. Brands should be thinking about limited quantities, pulling together their line in expected ways like selling looks and possibly pop-up shops around events.”
He also envisions a live approach for events (say upcoming NYFW) where bloggers can buy products released that week in a virtual pop-up shop.
For Coexist, Dan says the most exciting shopping experiences are still in development. “We’re headed toward a completely seamless shopping experience where customers can buy at the point of personal connection,” Dan says. And that’s just a slice of the potential developments for Tumblr’s fashion community.
Tell us, how has Tumblr benefited your brand? What would you like to see next from the Tumblr fashion community?