This post involves the intersection of fashion and technology – an exciting topic for me to cover. I am a fashion magazine enthusiast. I subscribe to Elle, Lucky Magazine, InStyle, and receive several store catalogues. Lucky for me, these publications only come out monthly – and I say “only” because I spend HOURS pouring through each issue, analyzing every outfit and advertisement – anticipating what I will see on the racks and circling pieces I will purchase (or more often finding inspiration to work with what I already have). I soak it in and then scour the internet to find the chosen pieces.
Just two days ago, on my trip back down to DC from New York, I thought about how much progress I made on my January issues over my short stay with my family. Even on Christmas day, when my little cousins were watching the Bulls pull ahead of the Lakers in the last minute of Sunday’s game (which was so exciting and fun to watch) and playing Call of Duty between courses, my 10 year old cousin observed me picking up my Elle AGAIN and asked how I could possibly not be done with the issue yet. She understood after I showed her my marked up pages. Definitely the nerd in me coming out.
I foolishly packed my magazines with my luggage in the trunk – so I spent the drive down to DC listening to my ride singing off-key to Billy Joel while I talked about the yet-to-be-captured opportunities available through the web and social media to revive the “dying” publishing industry.
Last week, Mashable featured 72Lux in its Spark of Genius Series. 72Lux wants to simplify e-commerce – a smart move, considering the industry’s growth. 72Lux wants to make the busy woman’s online shopping experience as seamless as possible. By partnering with designers and retailers, 72Lux allows users to shop from more than 900 retailers/brands and complete the transaction with its universal checkout. The site also offers a “personalized” shopping experience for which users select their preferred designers, colors, and sizes to receive customized suggestions.
Admittedly, I am partial to the filters available on Google Product Search and the designer/celebrity inspired “styles” offered by its legacy Boutiques.com – but these things are easy enough for 72Lux to add. Unlike the search giant, I think 72Lux has the potential to be an authoritative source for women’s fashion. With the retail partnerships, 72Lux has the potential to generate valuable content from the perspective as a “neutral” party, much like magazines do – but with a digital presence and e-commerce spin, offering immediate access to these products from a range of retailers and designers. 72Lux can also serve as an aggregating platform for the reviews of the most popular products across the web, think Yelp but for apparel and accessories.
72Lux is currently pursuing an alternative opportunity. According to Mashable, 72Lux will be announcing which consumer magazines will work with the start-up to integrate e-commerce platforms onto the magazine’s sites, rather than referring readers elsewhere. As Mashable astutely addressed, readers may become skeptical of the publications’ recommendations. While I do buy that there is a slight bias, magazines are and always have been in the business of making recommendations – thus picking winners and losers. Heck, they even have sections called “who wore it best” and features such as “Victoria Beckham’s Best 10 Looks Ever.” To think magazines haven’t always been influenced by their designers and retailers of choice would be naive. Bringing these recommendations to the web does not make it a bigger threat – in fact, if done right – it can give consumers even more options and an understanding of all that is out there.
I am really excited to hear that magazines are realizing a new web-based revenue stream (read: the Internet need not be the demise of the industry, I promise!) and hope some of the bigger players (i.e. my publications of choice) are on-board. I plan to buy a tablet later in the year, when Google and Apple both reveal what they’ve been concocting in their respective labs – and I would love it if I could browse my favorite magazines and shop for the pieces that catch my eye simultaneously!