Early this morning news broke that style.com would no longer be an editorial destination and instead it would become an e-commerce site. You could hear the ground reverberating throughout the fashion world. style.com was always VOGUE’s love child and it will now fold into the publication. It’s not a surprising move as everyone wants a piece of the e-commerce pie so to speak. Let’s not mince words: everyone wants to what net-a-porter.com has accomplished. Not only are they the number one destination online for luxury fashion, but they also publish an incredibly successful print magazine. VOGUE already has their glossy print magazine, but now they want to dominate e-commerce as well.
E-commerce is over a trillion dollar industry. Everyone wants to be a part of it. However, it’s worth noting that not all succeed. Yes, style.com has the power of Condé Nast behind it, but they will soon find out how difficult the digital shopping landscape proves to be. Online shoppers can’t always be pinpointed or put into certain categories. Consumers use a combination of social media, search engines, and recommendations from friends before making online purchases. And of course we cannot forget the elephant in the room: VOGUE magazine. One has to wonder if the fashion glossy will start recommending many of the products seen in the magazine to their new e-commerce site. For instance an article that discusses this seasons hot new tuxedo pants will probably have a few recommendations where to purchase and one or two of those will be style.com. This brings paid content into the debate. Powerful fashion houses have huge advertising budgets and this influences fashion editors. Affiliate advertising will also play into this. Other large e-commerce sites will pay for style.com to mention their products. When a consumer clicks on that product and purchases, style.com will receive part of that sale. It short, much of the new e-commerce site will center around affiliate kickbacks and also product recommendation from big budget labels. Are small brands left behind? Possibly.
Smaller brands don’t have such huge ad budgets, nor do they have massive PR personalities behind them. Most of their revenue goes back into the business in creating new designs and products. Let’s say they pitch VOGUE their new designs, they don’t have the backing to always sway editors in the same way as their larger competitors. Chances are the large brands already advertise in VOGUE magazine. By spending advertising dollars, this already gives them a leg up on Condé’s e-commerce site. There are many talented designers in the marketplace, however not all of them receive the accolades they deserve. From designers creating jewelry to designer handbags, the marketplace is lucky to have many of these niche, luxury brands. However, now that magazines are turning into e-commerce giants, we don’t know how this will fare for smaller brands. Based on many new collections and designs, there is still room for labels that produce designer handbags to succeed; they simply have to be more creative than their larger competitors.