In the 1990s, brick and mortar companies had to grow with the changing marketplace and create a website to inform potential consumers. In the early 2000s, the same companies had to hop on the social media bandwagon to have a conversation with those consumers. The online technologies have revolutionized modern business, so much so, that businesses have been started and maintained online only. E-commerce sites, such as Gilt Groupe, Moda Operandi, and Net-a-Porter, opened up a whole new market. Funnily enough, the reason for their existence wasn’t enough to support them. Brands started online now have to find real time ways to exist in the physical world to sustain themselves and provide more services to their consumers. For example, Net-a-Porter, an e-commerce site for luxury fashion was started in 2000 and just this past February launched their print publication “Porter,” the magazine version of the site.
Gilt Groupe started this endeavor back in 2012 with their version, DuJour Magazine. These magazines do run very differently as they do not follow normal print schedules. The online retailers are printing less and follow a bi-monthly, quarterly, or even bi-annual production schedule. Obviously, online versions are also offered to those who subscribe via email. This type of translation from online to offline has increased sales for these companies. The idea of a magazine and being able to click through and link right to the product the consumer wishes to purchase has a psychology behind it that increases purchasing rates.
Some brands translated the online conversation into an offline product. #Hashouts and BCBGeneration took the idea of the twitter hashtag and the online username tag symbol (@) into a bracelet. This idea had the tagline “wear it and share it.” The thought process was that these bracelets would be customizable on the daily, just like your required daily tweet, and could be shared via Instagram, Twitter, etc.
It’s just ironic that for so long we were pushing the online revolution and data collection when in recent years, online has had to go the other way. While for a truly successful business, product, and service, it is realized that both are necessary. We originated with the brick and mortar store and need the physicality of it in the real world to remain grounded while simultaneously such a fast, and changing world requires immediacy, which only online can provide fully. Next time, it’s best to think twice that online is where we need to be, because in reality, people value both.