Retail relaunch

What we want from store sites


Local35, a menswear store in Portland, Oregon held a poll on its blog at the end of the year, asking readers what new line the shop should pick up for fall 2010. By one vote, A.P.C. Collection beat out Band of Outsiders and on Twitter owner Justin Machus promised his followers that he’d check out the line in Paris later this month.

Polling isn’t a groundbreaking idea from either a blogging or retail perspective. Bloggers use polls to engage readers often (apparently I’ve already made it to the semi-finals of Auntie Fashion’s Battle of the Fashion Journalism Superhunks) and smart shop keepers survey their customers about what new labels, pieces, etc. are on their radar.

But it is fresh from a blogging retailer angle. Store blogs are generally a bore, with barely regular posts of fresh-out-of-the-box clothing, creases and all, photographed on shop floors interspersed with sale notices and closed-for-the-holidays announcements. It engages the reader from a news perspective but it doesn’t do much to enhance the shopping experience.
New York Times critic Cathy Horyn blogged about a similar subject last week, asking why a decade into the life of SHOWStudio.com, fashion is still learning how to use the internet? She highlights Burberry’s ArtoftheTrench.com as an example of a luxury brand getting online marketing right.
But Burberry is an example of the main problem facing the online identities of most fashion companies: they have split personalities. ArtoftheTrench.com exists separately from the company’s stodgier corporate site, suggesting the brand’s interest in dynamically connecting with its web audience is just a fad.
It’s been almost a year since Julie Daoust and John Baker launched our favourite design blog KitkaDesignToronto and I’m curious to see how they integrate the popular site with the web identity of their new shop Mjolk. I’m betting the two sites become one stylish click, earning Daoust and Baker the title of Toronto retail web masters in 2010. No pressure of course. [rssbreak]

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