Feature

iSpy… Newspapers as the new retailers

With online sales now playing a mainstream role in the fashion retail world, new and unexpected partnerships are now emerging, as iSpyStyle reports.

Kate Vandermeer

Kate Vandermeer

Kate Vandermeer is director of iSpyStyle – a website and consultancy that spies on the design and fashion industry providing trend and business information targeted to inspire, inform and connect. Follow Kate on Twitter at www.twitter.com/iSpyStyle_Kate or subscribe to her website for free onwww.ispystyle.net

Selling fashion online is by no means a new phenomenon, however the type of player entering this market is now coming from unexpected sources; witness the recent launch of the UK’s Guardian News & Media Group online fashion store at www.guardianfashionstore.co.uk

Seeing the opportunity to make a commission on the sales of all products/brands featured in the fashion editorial section of their online site, The Guardian have approached this opportunity with little risk, partnering with LynkU.com, who act as a fashion e-commerce search engine to display products for online and offline retailers.

This kind of partnership is increasingly common in the current climate. Established print and online media are looking for new ways to increase their revenue (given the recent reduction in print sales).

The real beneficiaries here are the technology companies like LynkU who have established e-commerce platforms that are templated and ready to go. There is little technological risk for The Guardian as Lynk U have spent the last couple of years refining their e-commerce offers, ensuring they have world’s best practice facilities available. The store aims to feature over 150,000 products from brands like French Connection, Browns, Jigsaw, Diane Von Furstenberg (pictured left) and Matches to name a few.

iSpyStyle_guardian_w300If newspapers and media groups follow suit with this concept, where does that leave the smaller e-boutiques, and how will this affect the bricks-and-mortar retailers?

Well, the initial response has been very strong from consumers. Just as a department store appeals to the masses, I believe those who shop the e-boutiques will continue to do so as there is extra service online, more editorial and styling advice and a certain ‘cachet’ around shopping with these boutiques.

The phenomenon will however impact on more generic high street stores. With Internet shopping growing market share every quarter, consumer confidence to shop online will only be encouraged when a big brand like a newspaper lends its endorsement.

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