Many, many web 2.0-type companies and startups seem to be depending on the support of advertisers as a major source of revenue.*  While users get their platforms, apps, and services for free, the site is peppered with ads that the vast majority of people ignore.  As a whole, we the people of the web have gotten awfully good at tuning out ads. 

Seth Godin brought up Hotmail today (which may be out of vogue in Silicon Valley, but here in the heartland it is alive and well, surprisingly enough.  Of course, there are also still paying AOL subscribers here too.  But I digress.) when discussing Facebook’s advertising problem – basically, no matter how focused the ad campaigns are, Facebook’s users are there for the people, not the stuff.  They haven’t given permission to be marketed too yet.  This problem applies to many sites and social networks that are planning to sell ads.

There is an industry where advertisers not only have permission, people look forward to their next campaign – fashion, especially high end, big name fashion.  In what other form of media are the ads considered part of the reason to buy something as a opposed to a negative adds nothing to the overall value?  For the unfamiliar – many people buy the great big September and March issues of Vogue, Elle, and the like in order to check out all the new ad campaigns from the major labels. 

Not only have these individuals given the marketers permission, they are paying for the priviledge.  In fact, some of these ads were so controversial and provocative, they’ve earned their place in the pantheon of iconic cultural imagery (as you might guess, some of the images at this link are not safe for work due to the artistic sort of nudity). 

Like many other forms of marketing, fashion companies are trying to sell a fantasy.  However, how many of them manage to do it so well?  Ads from Yves St. Laurent, Chanel, Missoni, etc. are just as artistic as an editorial in many cases.  Hell, whole websites and discussion boards are devoted to them, they are shot by some of the world’s premiere photographers and feature top models and actresses.

To bring it back to the web, how can companies and websites use advertising or marketing in a way that it adds value and encourages discussion instead of simply sitting off to the side and cluttering up the screen?  Since advertising is pretty much a given in our lives, both on and offline, how can we make it better?  And of course, how can marketers/advertisers participate in the conversation in a positive way, a way that improves both the “stuff” being sold and the public’s understanding of it?

I don’t think that ads always have to be the enemy or a necessary evil – but they need to improve.  Perhaps other industries should take a glossy page from the fashion world’s book – ads don’t need to be overt or blaring as long as they tell a unique story and make the viewer want to know more; and instead of hanging out on the fringes of the conversation waiting for someone to notice, maybe it’s time to join it.

*I’m not going to get into to the fact that there can’t possibly be enough ad dollars to support all the forms of media that currently depend on it – that’s a subject for another post.

StyleFeeder Gets Funded

October 8, 2007

Clearly I am not the only one who likes the social shopping site StyleFeeder – they’ve just raised $1 million in funding from two different venture capital firms

I’m excited to see what they’ll do with it.

On a related note, there is an interesting post on recommendation engines (search engines that help you find things you like, from interesting content to books to gadgets) on Read Write Web Today.

I’ve posted about all the shopping and fashion related websites and search engines that are popping up all over the place before, but here’s one that’s truly unique.  3Luxe aims to separate the wheat from the chaff and to simplify shopping by presenting the best three items in each of their product categories (which range from designer handbags to motorcycles to laptops, so there really is something for everyone).  There is even a high end travel section, which is definitely a departure from the majority of shopping sites.

The founders of 3Luxe created it because many search engines, even the ones dedicated to shopping, deliver an overwhelming number of results – and well, sometimes, you just want to know which item is the best.  After all, we don’t all have time to do tons of research for everything we buy, so 3Luxe does it for you.

So how do products get listed?

“At 3LUXE, we do the research for you and we limit our results to the three things that we identify as the “Best Ofs” in each category. If you’re looking for the “Best Of” digital cameras, we give you the three best options, not millions of search results. And while our reviews are certainly subjective (we have real people actually researching the products, not algorithms), they are also completely objective in that no one can buy their way onto the list.”

Think of this site at the Neiman Marcus or the Bergdorf Goodman of shopping websites – only the finest brands and products are featured, and clearly, the focus is on luxury.

At first glance, 3Luxe may seem like it’s a website for the elite few who can afford the best of the best at all times, however, that’s not quite the case.  Think about it – doesn’t everything have something that they splurge on?  Whether it is the perfect pair of jeans or a high end espresso machine, we’ve all got our something.  While you may not be interested in every section of 3luxe, chances are at least a couple of them will catch your eye.

There is also a social/product review aspect to the site – you can create an account and “luxe it or leave it” with their selections, along with leaving comments about the choices and submitting your own reviews.  Of course, they have a blog as well (what website doesn’t nowadays?).  Check it out next time you want immediate answers – and/or when you’re in the mood to splurge.

*On a personal note, I’ve got to say that their beer selections are top notch, particularly the delicious Shakespeare Stout (I’m a beer snob – I blame visiting Germany in high school, where even the cheap beer is far superior to most commonly available American brews.  When your first beer experiences consist of the finest Munich has to offer, Bud Light isn’t very appealing). 

Vote in Style, a fashion polling site where members give various, user-submitted items/looks the thumbs up or thumbs down (I mentioned them in my massive round-up of web 2.0 fashion and shopping sites), is offering up and coming labels free advertising on the site through the end of 2007.

Why are they doing that?  To support independent designers and innovation in the industry.  “We want to recognize creativity in the fashion industry and promote talented up-and-coming designers”, they say.

If you’re a budding designer, or know someone who is, you can click here for more information and to apply for a spot.

I know I’ve been talking about fashion and shopping on the web lately, so I thought I’d point out an interesting post about fashion in the Sims (the computer game where you create and control your “sims” or simulated people) – Fashion goes really high tech (it’s also posted here).  She mentions that fast-fashion chain H&M is offering virtual versions of their clothes for Sims to wear, and that computer games could prove to be an excellent testing ground for retailers.  Of course, she mentions that Second Life could be even better for this – it’s much cheaper than actually producing garments, and new designers could use it to build buzz and gain a following as well.

This article was first posted on Frillr, which is a fashion community that I neglected to mention in my previous list (hey, I never said it was exhaustive).  It’s a grouping of blogs that provides a mix of “fashion news, fashion gossip, and fashion show coverage”.  Users can join and submit their own content, talk in the forums, post classified ads for coveted items, and more.  I’m not really thrilled with their navigation or the way content is displayed, but there is some good stuff there (for instance, the aforementioned article). 

Thanks to my compilation of all the fashion and shopping web 2.0-type sites I could find, I got plenty of emails from people involved in fashion, technology, and marketing.  One of the most interesting was from the PR rep for a new site called StyleFeeder.  It encompasses bookmarking/social shopping, reviews and recommendations, lets you follow people who share your tastes (your “Style Twins”, and you can even subscribe to their feeds), and has a customized personal shopper that users can employ.  To quote the very interesting StyleFeeder Tech blog, their “focus is on helping you discover products serendipitously, without asking you to describe exactly what you want.”

Although at first I’ll admit I thought “isn’t that just Style Hive with a clever opening page?” (if you go sign up, you have to click on images that appeal to you and it shows you others based on what you select).  However, there’s much to it than that – not only you can look at other profiles and see if you share their taste, Style Feeder introduces your Style Twins though a collaborative filtering algorithm – to quote Wikipedia, this is “the method of making automatic predictions (filtering) about the interests of a user by collecting taste information from many users (collaborating)”.  Need an example?  Those Amazon “also recommended” lists you get when you view an item is a result of collaborative filtering – they compare your purchase history with users who’ve bought the same or similiar items (and how they’ve rated them). 

Yes, there are collaborative filtering search engines and systems, but “one thing that really sets StyleFeeder apart from other “social shopping” sites is its unique recommmendation engine that was developed by an MIT PhD (and there’s some seriously smart people involved).  The engine is 100% personalized and bases recommendations on your interests, product ratings, and personal information in real-time updates (it is constantly updated based on each users’ latest item ratings so the more you use it, the closer it comes to hit the mark with your personal style in its search results, which search the entire web!)”, according to PR rep who emailed me.

Not content to simply take his word for it (nothing personal – journalists are skeptics like that), I signed up for the site so I could try it for myself, and although it takes a while to save enough items so the system can get an idea of your taste, I could see how all will come together nicely once I’ve been using it for a while (you can download a toolbar and it’s easy to save stuff while you’re browsing normally).  It’s worth checking out if you do a lot of shopping online and you want to narrow the field, or if you just want to find people with similiar tastes to get advice from – and who doesn’t?

Two more random, yet related things – their blog is called “The StyleFeeder Tech Blog…How Nerds Invaded Fashion Space”.  As a fellow nerd who appreciates fashion, I found that highly amusing and awesome.  The other thing is the founder’s wife’s stunning blog – La Tartine Gourmande.  Her photography is simply amazing.

A while ago I posted about MyShopPal, and how the internet has irrevocably changed the retail business.  From the early days of Amazon and other mail order sites, online retail (or e-tail, if you must) has evolved from what was essentially web-based catalogs to interactive message boards, intelligent search engines, and bookmarking sites.  Many internet retailers now include candid customer reviews and live chat options that add another dimension to shopping online.

All this is particularly interesting to me because I do a fair amount of writing about fashion, and in some ways, I’m a typical girl – I like pretty shoes and beautifully designed clothes (hey, we all have our weaknesses).  Although these fashion and shopping sites may not get respect from or catch of the eye of the techie bloggers/writers, they’re pretty interesting to many people – especially once you step outside the “Techcrunch 586K” (the current number of people who subscribe to Techcrunch and related feeds and are generally much more aware than the average person when it comes to tech news and developments).  Shopping online is something that virtually everyone does, at least once in a while, and besides, many of the sites are geared towards women, who tend to hold the household pursestrings.

*Update: I’ve added about a dozen sites since the original publishing on Sunday, so if you first saw it then, you might want to scan through again.

Here’s a (long) list of shopping/fashion 2.0 sites that I’ve compiled, organized into categories:

Intelligent search engines/comparision shopping sites:

MyShopPal – An intelligent search engine that uses the FAP score (once you fill out a profile, the site develops personal scores that take into consideration the attractiveness of products for you, your personal style and preferences, fashion and technology trends, and product reviews).   You can friend other users, review products, and of course, shop their targeted search results (which can be filtered by price/discounts/color/style/brand/etc.).  See my previous review for more info.

MyShape – Have you ever wanted to be able to shop for items that you know are suited for your body type?  (hint for the guys: almost all women do).  That’s where myShape comes in – members supply their size, figure type, and measurements, and style preferences and the site finds it for them (don’t worry, everything is confidential).  It’s powered by ShapeMatch, a patent-pending systems that matches garments with user input.  They have seven major body shapes (an upgrade from the typical 3 or 4) and the site has some style and trend information for each type as well.

Shopzilla/Bizrate – I combined these two because they’re both owned by Scripps and well, they seem remarkably similar to the user.  Both are comparision shopping sites that you compare products side by side, with reviews.  These two have a broader reach than most of most of the other sites I’ve mentioned (which tend to be more fashion-oriented and niche-y), covering everything from school supplies to electronics to handbags.  They also deliver fairly similiar results when you search for the same products, at least in my experience.

The Find – Another intelligent search engine, and one completely without advertising (i.e. no “featured links” or anything like that).  Their “patent-pending technology ranks the product results for your searches by the most relevant and market-leading products, brands, stores and styles for your search. These rankings can never be bought or sold. So you can feel comfortable knowing that you are covering a ton of ground in just one search.  Plus, (they) provide large images of these leading products so you can easily see exactly what you are shopping for.”  The Find recently acquired Glimpse.com, which will be adding some more fashionable labels, greater selection, and style content to the main site.

Google Product Search – No discussion of search engines is complete without mentioning Google, or in this case, their answer to the shopping search engines.  You’ve probably figured this out already, but it’s a Google search that only returns product and retailer results.  For what it’s worth, my searches return very similiar results in both the product search and regular Google (but the product search has pictures, which is pretty helpful).

Shopping.com – The imaginately-named Shopping.com is an Ebay company “with a singular focus on shopping, (the site) offers shoppers easy-to-use search tools, engaging content and time saving navigation, along with millions of unbiased product and merchant reviews from the Epinions community, all in one place.”  Honestly, there’s nothing really wrong with this site except for blandness – they are the Wonderbread of the online shopping world.  Your mileage may vary.

Shop.com – Like the above Shopping.com, there’s nothing really wrong with this shopping search engine – it’s just not as compelling as the other choices.  They have wishlists (they do have an application to share your wishlist in Facebook, which is nice), registries, and search filters like the alternatives.  One standout feature – they do have their universal “One Cart” system, which conveniently allows shoppers to check out from multiple online retailers at once. 

Like.com – Using their trademarked “Like Technology”, Like.com lets users perform visual searches, tailoring results by preferred colors, features, and other aesthetic properties.  There’s also a “Like Celebrity” option (find items like those worn by the celeb of your choice) and a “Like Upload” option, where users provide a photo and the search engine finds similiar items.  You can also create a “LikeList” of (surprise, surprise) items you like.  They’ve got a decent variety of filters to tailor your search with too, and they’re affiliated with Epinions, so they have reviews..  Of course, they too have a blog.

Zafu – Another site that lets users shop according their body shape and size, but focused solely on jeans, pants and bras, some of the most difficult things for most women to find.  To quote the site, “At zafu, our mathematical calculations, product databases and body shape libraries enable us to ask a woman a few simple questions and use her answers to recommend clothes that will fit her best. There is real science behind the art of simplicity.”  They have a pretty huge inventory and there is also a price comparision option.  Yes, zafu is a little more niche-y than the other sites listed, but there is something to be said for doing a few things very well.

Bookmarking Sites:

StyleHive – It’s an online community that lets users tag and bookmark their favorite items, from designer housewares to high end shoes, along with following the hives of people whose taste they admire.  In their own words, they’re a “global shopping community, dedicated to finding the most exciting products, stores, and brands”.  It’s sort of like del.icio.us for fashion/style.  Stylehive also offers a fun widget that members can put on their blogs or websites that shows what they’ve saved (and as we all know, widgets = very web 2.0). 

Kaboodle – Billed as a “social shopping community where people share, recommend, and discover products”, this is a site that will let you engage in retail therapy in the most organized, efficient way possible.  Like other bookmarking sites, you can create a profile, save and tag things you like, and check out other users with similar/shared interests.  They do have some cool things, like their “help me choose” polls that let members get direct feedback from other users and style compatibility tests so members can compare personal tastes. 

ThisNext – One more place where people can share, recommend, and talk about what they buy – they believe that “believe that better buying means better living. Great products can help us do, be and experience the things that make us happy. Our goal is to help people discover great and deeply gratifying products.”  They don’t allow retailers to pay for prominent listings or mentions, so the products “shopcasted” on ThisNext are genuinely endorsed by their members.  Like other social bookmarking sites, you can follow users with similiar tastes, tag products with the descriptors of your choice, and create a badge for your blog or website.  However, they take it to the next level by automatically linking their shopcasts with a website’s affiliates.

Social Fashion Sites:

Iqons – Like Myspace, but just for the fashion industry.  Budding designers, stylists, models, and such upload their work and network with each other – Iqons aims to break the geographic barriers for fashion types.  Clearly, it’s not a shopping site, but deserves a mention because retailers, designers, and labels can use it to promote themselves, and of course, the users tend to be very avid shoppers.  Ultra useful for discovering indie labels, local stylists, and creative people doing cool stuff.

Polyvore – An outfit building site that reminds of nothing so much as Cher’s amazing wardrobe organizing program from the Clueless (if you were a girl who was into fashion at all in the mid-nineties, this was the movie).  Users can add items from any online retailer (although some kinds of images work better than others, as detailed on their help page) and create ensembles with their chosen merchandise, and of course, viewers can click through and buy the items that appeal to them.  They’ve also got a cool Facebook application.  It’s very sleek and intuitive – the iphone of fashion sites.

Fashion CEO – A fashion community designed to bring independent designers and fashion entrenpreneurs together – they have a resource center (with info about sourcing, getting press, finding vendors, and other relevant topics), a showcase center (for members to share their work), and an interactive area with lots of interviews, tips, an event calendar, a blog, and related content.  Like Iqons, it’s a good place to discover indie labels.

StyleDiary – This site has been around for three years, and they’re “an online source and community for shoppers, stylists, designers, store owners and fashionistas from dozens of countries around the globe, all who share a common love for fashion and style”.  Users upload pictures of their favorite outfits and chicest finds, share tips, and follow their favorite fashionistas.  It is kind of labor intensive to be an active member, but they do seem to be very loyal, and anyone can look through the site for outfit ideas.  They do publish some fashion/shopping content and run contests on a regular basis.

ShopVogue.tv/Style.com – These Conde Nast properties are some of the most beautifully designed fashion sites on the web.  ShopVogue.tv is an online entertainment network that lets you watch all sorts of fashion programming as you shop the pages of Vogue – it’s all about luxurious lifestyle and high end goods.  Style.com has been around for a bit – it’s the online home of Vogue and W (another upscale glossy for those who don’t read fashion magazines), and although there is plenty of other content, the most interesting part of the site is the fashion runway coverage.  Users can set up a public lookbook and save their favorite outfits and images from each show, and see staff picks, view other’s books, vote for their favorites, and get a widget for their own blogs/websites.  There’s also forums with a decent amount of activity.

ShopStyle – They aim to be “the online equivalent of shopping in the world’s most fabulous boutiques”, and their members get all kinds of tools to create personalized “stylebooks”, where they can assemble outfits, share them with friends, and get inspired by other members’ style.  Yes, it is similar to many other ensemble-creation sites, but on ShopStyle, members can click on a link and buy the items they’ve selected.  Bloggers can also make the most of this site by using the “blog it” feature and sharing their Stylebook on their website.  In addition, members can form fashion-related groups and share ideas and tips that way, and they hold regular contests.

Flip.com – Another Conde Nast site, Flip is geared towards the younger set – it’s place for them to talk fashion, DIY crafts, music, and such.  It’s not strictly a fashion site (the user pages, or”flipbooks”, are multimedia), but since it’s focused on teen girls, there’s naturally a strong fashion component.

StyleMob – A “new community for street fashion inspiration” (they’re still in beta), StyleMob users can get feedback on their outfits/photos, vote for their favorite user-submitted ensembles, enter contests, earn “stylepoints” (basically, the more active you are, the more you get), and get advice from other hipsters around the world.  They’ve got an indie, DIY spirit going on (as evidenced in their mission statement).

Vote In Style – A fashion polling site where members give various, user-submitted items/looks the thumbs up or thumbs down.  It’s a way of getting feedback on things members are thinking of buying or trends they want to try out; and it allows people to simply share their opinions with the community.

FashMatch – Where members can put outfits together using the items supplied by the site (mostly commonly known national brands, everything is available online), and do the yay or nay thing with ensembles created by other users.

Share Your Look – Another site where fashionistas and hipsters from around the world can share their favorite outfits and chicest ensembles.  Like the others, it’s nice for getting ideas and inspiration if you’re tired of your current wardrobe or shopping for a new season, and you can also comment and critique others’ styles.

3B – Sort of like Second Life, but for shopping (and hanging out with friends online).  You download the program, design an avatar, and this virtual version of yourself goes shopping in 3-D boutiques and tries things on, and if you want to purchase something, you’re sent to a typical 2-D checkout area.

Fashionising – An Austrailian based social networking site where members can chat in forums, style diaries, and “find new ways of encountering fashion and the lifestyle that goes with it” (the site’s name is a take-off of “socializing”).  There is also an option to share your portfolio (for models, stylists, and such) and users can post job offers too, and Fashionising features content like trend reports and city guides. 

Fashion Space (coming soon) – This yet-to-be-launched fashion-centric social networking community that lets users interact and share their creations, whether it’s a photography portfolio or items they’ve made. 

Message Boards and Forums:

Makeup Alley – One of the oldest beauty/fashion/style communities on the web, this site has popular messageboards, an incredibly vast and comprehensive collection of product reviews, and a swapping systems that lets users exchange items amongst themselves.  Members can upload pictures, fill out profiles, and create detailed “notepads” with info of their choice. 

The Fashion Spot – An invite only messageboard that discusses fashion around the world, with a focus on higher end and luxury goods.  These members tend to prize individual style and they hold lots of contests and share ideas and advice.  I’ve noticed that this site appears to be much more international than most of the previous sites, with European and Asian users (the dominant language, however, is still English).  Many of them are also actually part of the fashion industry, or they’re studying related subjects in school; they’re also pretty likely to have their fashion blogs.

Swap Style – An “online fashion swap party” that’s gotten some decent offline buzz (mentions in Cosmopolitan and In Style magazines).  It lets members trade, buy, and sell gently used or new clothing and accessories.  By joining Swap Style, they can save money, get a hold of hard-to-find items and brands, and be part of an online style community.  It’s totally free and you can list as many items as you want.

Blogging/Media Networks:

Glam – One of the fastest growing properties on the web, Glam is a network of the best blogs and online fashion publications – they syndicate some of their content on their homepage and they also produce lots of content themselves.  The source of their strength – an advertising network with tons of major national brands as clients.  They’ve managed to get some impressive funding going, although not without some controversy.  (It’s important to note that many of Glam’s properties have nothing to do with fashion whatsoever, like myyearbook.).  They’ve also recently created Glamspace (still in beta), a place where members can create profile pages and friend each other.

Sugar Publishing – A network of websites focusing on fashion, beauty, health, and entertainment, Sugar is aims to create the “richest, most relevant online community for trendsetting, passionate, and smart women.”  Fab Sugar (fashion) and Bella Sugar are probably the two most shopping-oriented, and Team Sugar is where it all comes together – users can discuss the network’s content, submit articles, participate in polls, bookmark their favorites, talk with each in the forums, play games, connect in live chatrooms, join groups, and more – there is lots to see and do there.

Coutorture – So many fashion blogs, so little time – Coutorture syndicates the best content from their members (others can submit things too), along fashion industry and runway coverage in the form of articles, photos, and videos, from the editors.

Splendicity (launches Tuesday, September 4th) – A b5 media property, Splendicity is another, brand new fashion blog network.  In their own words – “We are the destination for splendid style on the Web. Splendicity is a place for fashionista’s to come and learn about the latest in fashion and beauty from a community of fantastic bloggers. From streetwear to couture, indie designers, beauty and shopping; Splendicity is a vibrant, interactive community, where one can find all the latest information to be trendy, neat, stylish and chic.”  They hold contests and giveaways, syndicate interesting posts from their members, and create their own content.

Ivillage – The fashion and beauty arm of the rather massive Ivillage community – blogs, polls, quizzes – all the usual suspects, along with an amusing “makeover-o-matic” tool that lets users upload photos and make them over (anyone else remember the software kit you could get for that?  I think it was affiliated with Cosmopolitan and was like a very rudimentary Photoshop – this is a better version of that).  They’ve also got a comparision shopping search engine going on that’s okay, but lacks the sheer variety of filter options that others possess.

Blogher Fashion and Shopping – It’s only natural that one of the largest networks of woman bloggers on the web have a fashion section.  Blogher’s syndicates all the best fashion, style, and beauty content from their many member blogs into one organized feed.

The Stylelist AOL‘s answer to all the fashion and beauty networks and portals – featuring blogs by designers, makeup artists, and fashion writers from all over the United States, along with runway and celebrity style coverage.

Glamour – The online presence of the print magazine by the same name has online-only content, polls, blogs (authored by staffers and freelancers) and forums for their readers.

Teen Vogue – Once again, a fashion magazine’s website with blogs, forum, and such.  Geared towards the younger crowd (that should be obvious).

Allure – Yet another print magazine that also offers web content, local directories, and some pretty active forums for their readers.

Elle – This online site for a print magazine has podcasts, lots of videos, runway coverage, and of course, a blog.

Manolo the ShoeBlogger – One of the very first fashion blogs on the net, the Manolo has created an entertaining network of fashion and lifestyle blogs that share his tongue-in-cheek attitude and passion for style and luxury.

Online Retailers With Uniqueness:

Etsy – A marketplace for indie designers, DIYers, and crafty types to sell their wares to internet-shopping public.  It’s a “place to buy and sell all things handmade” where shoppers can tailor their searches with a variety of filters, including color, location of the seller, and more.  Like almost every other site I’ve mentioned, there are forums.

Nordstrom – One of the first major retailers (if not the first) to offer feeds of their products, so that savvy shoppers can be immediately aware of new goodies and markdowns (to set it up, run a search on your desired topic and hit the rss button).  Is it because they’re based in the tech-mecca of Seattle, or are they just hip?

Honorable Mention: Jezebel, the most fashionable part of the Gawker Media Network.  Their tagline is “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion.  Without Airbrushing.”  They don’t fit into any other category, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention those hilarious and smart bitches.

Of course, many of these fall into more than one category, and I have focused on the bigger players (if I started listing all the niche message boards and blogs this list would be even more ridiculously long), but there really has been tons of innovation in the fashion/shopping arena in the past few years.  Also, this list doesn’t include things like fashion related groups on Facebook, Myspace, and Flickr – and there are thousands of those. 

So why should you pay attention or even care?  Besides the whole “innovation! creation! changing the world! yay!” aspect, there are buckets of money to be made.  After all, people who are using social media for shopping, fashion, and style advice are probably primed to purchase.   In addition, the price of entry for new retailers and designers has dropped drastically in the past ten years – anyone can make and sell merchandise on Etsy, for instance.  The previous requirement of an expensive brick and mortar storefront and advertising campaigns have been all but eliminated.

That’s not to say that traditional retail has to die, however, but it does have to adapt by focusing on offering features and aspects that are only possible in person (but this post isn’t really about that).  I’d also like to point out how many people use the web and social media to research items prior to a real life shopping trip – you can see what’s new at a particular store, check out the trends, read some reviews, and decide if a visit is worth time without having to actually go there.  Web 2.0 is changing the way people shop and discover products, along with the way the retail industry operates.

Disclosures – My fashion blog is part of Splendicity, and Shopzilla and Bizrate are advertisers.  Also, an online fashion magazine (Second City Style) that I write for is part of the Glam network.  I also write for the Stylelist.

So, have I missed anything?  Let me know in the comments or drop me an email.