LOOKBOOK.NU – Free Marketing for Retailers

Lookbook.nu has shaken up the online world and created celebrities overnight. For those of you who don’t know the site, it was created by a college student in San Francisco who hoped to create a website where people could share their sense of fashion. The site changed from invitation-only to full availability for all, with hopes that a more diverse market would envelop the site. The greatest part of this site is the ability to list where you purchased each item of clothing you are wearing. This includes, socks, shoes, hats, sunglasses etc. It is a great way to find new places to shop and is a cheap and almost free way for retailers to market their products.

While there are tons of members of this online community it isn’t easy for all retailers to get their products seen. There are key members of the Lookbook community who have a big prominence and influence to website viewers. Some of these include Lua P and Jennifer G who are well known members of this online community. With posts receiving a couple thousand likes it is clear that websites like Romwe, Nastygal, and UNIF have benefited from their clothes being worn by some of these influential users. While clothing companies can get lucky having these girls and guys wearing their clothing by sheer luck, there is an easier method. Send them free clothes! For well known bloggers and Lookbook users, retailers have begun sending large packages of clothing items hoping that they will appear online and influence new users to shop at their stores. Some of these include PacSun, a recent post on Instagram from a well known fashion blogger “Real Vintage Virgin” displayed an entire crate of clothes being sent to her home! The next day, she had posted an outfit styled entirely from PacSun, also sending out a mention to the company and providing a link to their Instagram and webpage.

In my opinion, this is a great way for retailers to market their products. These fashion bloggers and members of the Lookbook community have a huge influence on online shoppers. As a retailer it wouldn’t hurt you to send promotional items to these online influencers. It is much more likely that they will wear your clothing versus working alongside a celebrity who would request additional incentives. It’s becoming easier through social media to market for clothing companies. How do I know? Well, they suckered me in, Lookbook is one of the websites I visit when looking for new and interesting clothing options. Taking the time and creative energy to post and edit these photographs and market your style deserves these perks. Free clothes for free marketing? Not to bad of a deal.

Black Friday: Helping or hurting retailers?

After finishing our turkey dinners for Thanksgiving, boys, girls, moms, dads, grandparents and even some pets braved the cold winter evening to line up for Black Friday sales. Most retailers opened their doors between 8pm and 12am on Thursday evening and Friday morning. A few days prior when preparing for what stores we should hit first, a discussion arose about the worth of getting up early or staying up all night shopping for the “greatest holiday deals”. Does the concept of Black Friday help or hurt retailers?

Marketing Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the best deals of all time might be a heavy exaggeration. There are plenty of other times within the year, coupon combinations, or other ways to manipulate retailers to get a good deal on products. The companies that reap the benefits of Black Friday are larger retailers. They can provide significant markdowns on their items after years of Black Friday experience it is apparent what signage verbiage and colors attract the most consumers. This day isn’t planned on short notice, companies prepare and analyze what items they can afford to discount, what amounts they can give, and what kind of crowds they will see year after year. Not only this, they are able to clear out unpopular or out of season items by reeling in customers with bright red “CLEARANCE” signs along with display new seasonal items for the holiday season.

It is obvious that consumers will hit large retailers like Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Kohls for early bird specials on electronics, home, and clothing items but what about the smaller retailers? Having worked at a small Southern California based women’s clothing retailer I was appalled at the minimal sale we were offering as our first Black Friday special. Not only did we have to remain open all night long, we only offered discounts on our already unpopular sale items. This hardly caught the attention of mall goers when we opened at 12am. Small retailers aren’t able to provide 40, 50 or 75% off all items in store, not only is this unrealistic but in the end it would cost the company money. It was after I realized that my store couldn’t be compared against stores like Macy’s or H&M that I started to think of positive ways that small retailers could actually benefit from Black Friday.

  • Black Friday brings the consumers. (With enticing signage and properly merchandised window displays, you can attract an entirely new audience.)

  • Use of appropriate discount offers. (This not only gets customers excited about the current purchase but also incentivizes them to come back again.)
    • Spend ____ amount and get a coupon for _____ percent off your next visit in December

    • Spend ____ amount and get ____ dollars off your next visit in December
    • _____ percent coupon for any purchase made today to redeem in December.
    • Scratch card for a percentage off your next visit with any purchase made today.
    • Creates new relationships. (Having a good experience during the hectic Black Friday shopping can bring customers back into your store.)

    While small retailers might feel forced into providing Black Friday deals it is in the stores best interest to instead look at this as a marketing opportunity. Knowing how to select markdowns to reduce unwanted stock along with creating an incentive to visit the store again can bring in new consumers instead of marking down the entire store and losing money. The competition with Cyber Monday is giving retailers an entirely new way of approaching Black Friday. For those who have websites and brick and mortar stores this means incentives to customers on both ends to choose their stores as well as their website. All I can say is you better bring the value, and that doesn’t mean marking down old sweaters.

Social Media Marketing on Etsy


I have recently been back on an Etsy kick, for those of you who don’t know what Etsy is here is a quick overview. This website allows users to sign up and sell products online in a small business environment all via the Internet. The website is best known for its unique shops that include vintage and hand made items not found elsewhere. The entire process seems very hush hush, I only came across the website after hearing friends speaking about it.

The best part is that a lot of the items are sold at decent prices and the unique pieces are worth a peak. You never know when the next Marc Jacobs could be hand sewing you a dress behind that computer screen. In comparison to Ebay where you can buy and sell items along with holding auctions, Etsy is set up more as an online store per each user. After browsing through the various categories once you select an item you can click on the user to view their whole shop. Each homepage can be customized with a shop banner and description of the shop (vintage, handmade jewelry, or hand sewn swimwear). While customers can stumble upon your shop when entering in a search or browsing the categories how does a shop become successful and drive traffic?

The answer is pretty obvious right? Social media! It’s not very often you find online banners promoting Etsy websites. The key to success is utilizing word of mouth advertising and social media. Google analytics is also a great resource to promote web traffic. The site is as close as you can get to hosting your own online retail store but made simple and easy. Facebook can help “share” your message with friends, family or even acquaintances. The greatest part is seeing your store “liked” on multiple news feeds. Instagram could be a great resource for promotion of clothing and accessory products as well. Getting friends, family, and influencers to post pictures wearing your product along with appropriate hash tags and mentions could put your store to the top! Giveaways and sending product to popular Instagram fashion users could give them an incentive to promote your product. Just make sure their style matches what you are offering!

While I do not have the time nor the skill to create some of the wide offerings Etsy has, I am fully supportive of up and coming designers. If you play your cards right online your shop can become a hit.

Geek Branding: NO GIRLS ALLOWED!

With all of the previous months tweets about New York Comic Con I couldn’t help but reminisce on my visit to the San Diego Comic Convention this past July. While I am straying off my typical fashion related marketing posts I do have a bit to discuss on the perception of women (seemingly feminist I know) and how they are being used to market to all the “geeks” of the world. Over this past summer my sister and I decided to Cosplay (dress up) as our favorite comic book characters. While we both have the nerd gene swimming inside us it isn’t uncommon to find girls within these conventions who are in it for the GLORY of having men of all kinds drooling over their skimpily dressed bodies.

Booth Babes, some of you have seen them flaunting their goodies at car shows passing out flyers but more recently they have taken over the nerd scene. Booths at these conventions like Comic Con or Wonder Con help promote things like television shows, magazines, or video games with good looking girls dressed in questionable “costumes” as seen in said shows or games. While some girls are just in it for the attention there ARE girls out there who are genuinely interested in the content these conventions withhold and what is it to stop them from expressing their fandom through cosplaying? One writer for a CNN blog thought otherwise, generalizing ALL girls who dress up to be attention seeking fakes.

While women have always been a step behind men in all aspects of life including careers, respect, and strength I never would have thought in 2012 women would still be considered inadequate in what used to be close to an all male geeky world. Advertisements, television, and print are still portraying women as submissive and unintelligent. With the introduction of the heroine it would seem that women would be more empowered than ever to be strong risk takers. With articles like this coming out it unfortunately just emphasizes the feelings that males have towards females in the comic industry. Even worse, me and my sisters photograph is associated directly with the article. Talk about misinterpretation.

While this marketing tactic of “booth babes” seems to be successful in pulling in a male demographic of customers women are ridiculed for it. So, the argument remains, should the comic industry continue branding a “No Girls Allowed” mentality? The changing demographic of “geeks” now includes women and unfortunately this method of branding will not envelop this new untapped market. Taking all of these marketing courses reminds me that sometimes marketers can forget when a new target market jumps into the scene. The world is always changing and industries need to adjust.

Feel free to check out the original blog post below:
Booth babes need not apply