Last week, The New York Times broke the news that Google is launching a new eCommerce platform targeting fashion brands: Boutiques.com: http://nyti.ms/9DlCu. (Disclaimer: I worked for four and a half years at Google, but I was not involved in this project.)
The launch pushes the envelope of how technology can help consumers navigate and discover fashion products and trends by:
- Taking vertical search accuracy to the next level.
- Using social as a centerpiece of the experience, giving celebrities, fashion bloggers, and ultimately everybody the capability to create a "personal boutique" with the fashion items they love for all to have a peek.
- Taking advantage of the latest visual search technology that helps users in mixing and matching colors, patterns, and trends.
I think that the approach to product discovery of Boutiques.com is a very interesting development in eCommerce as well as for brand marketers. Why?
- Boutiques.com offers a much richer way for consumers to explore brands online by shifting the focus from product to the context in which the product will be ultimately used. I would expect Google to target notoriously difficult categories to contextualize like furniture and cars.
- Data, data, data . . . retail aggregators like Boutiques.com have the opportunity to develop unique insights on demand trends that many brands will be happy to pay for.
- As cross-brand navigation becomes an easier and rewarding experience, the current cornerstone of today’s brand digital presence — the Web site — will face increasing competition from innovative retail formats, and as a result, brands will need to develop a syndication strategy for their branded content across platforms.
Do you think that a good syndication strategy for branded content will help brands in managing the increasing fragmentation of their branded message both offline and online?