the fabulous Isabel Marant
If ever there was an industry that should excel in the online game it should be the apparel / jewelry / accessories / textiles industries. Merchandising, image, and engagement are the names of the game. So, how do some of the freshest brands compare?

This was not one of my most challenging assignments. Rather like shopping while hungry, my forced march through the online offerings of some of the world’s most compelling brands in apparel, jewelry, accessories and textiles made me contemplate bad decisions involving my credit card. It made me want a more fabulous existence than I have now.

But, alas, this is work so we must maintain a professional demeanor.

Click here to view the table I put together of what I found. Below is a summary of some of the more interesting observations:

  • More than half of the sites had a pop-over launch with the home page that urged me to join their mailing list. Only one site – Dom Reilly – offered me anything in return.
  • Fewer than half of the sites had any kind of blog or “behind the scenes” section. Content marketing is something that these types of companies should not just embrace, but master. Billy Reid did the best job of leveraging additional content to augment the brand aura. Isabel Marant also inflated the brand with non-product content offerings.
  • More than a handful of sites had no Pinterest linking whatsoever. This is a major fail. Additional hint: some of the roll-over zoom features on some sites prevent me from manually adding them to my Pinterest page.
  • Asset management is the single biggest challenge for sites in this category, but it is critically important to have big, colorful, crystal-clear product shots.
  • One of the best-looking, best-performing sites was constructed using the Squarespace WYSISYG tool. This is an anathema to web developers everywhere but the fact is, it worked well. Live and learn.
  • Most sites had no Google Analytics set up at all.
  • Most sites displayed no relationship between a Facebook page and the brand site.
  • Most sites were not mobile-optimized. Some has M-versions that looked like crap. One of the biggest brands had a wonderful Flash-driven site and dedicated iPhone/iPad apps for mobile. The execution was big-budget and flawless as one might expect.

This overview was created as an entry into a larger discussion with the client about how their web presence should be addressed. Luckily this client embraces the notion that we need a unique perspective for our online presence, but not to be unique for the sake of uniqueness; the user’s physical experience with the client’s products will be exceptional, and that experience needs to extend to the brand’s online presence.