Saturday, 22 August 2015

Berlin II - Web Merchandising Case Studies and Examples

Plip, the Umbrella Man by David Sire and Thomas Baas 14.90€ (from Gestalten), Premiata Sneaker 142.10€ (from 203€), Umasan Y-Shirt 179€, Lumi Venla Pouch €89

I was back in Berlin last week (see my first post about Berlin here) and visited Bikini - a 'concept mall' in a striking '50's building overlooking the city's zoo.

I loved it - I could have marvelled at the architecture and browsed the fashion and homeware brands for hours! And in adjoining buildings, I could have taken in a film at the Zoo Palast cinema, recharged at the 25Hours Hotel or even rented an office!

Looking at their website, as a virtual tourist, I found a clear list of shops and an informative page devoted to each. Some photographs might have made me even more inclined to visit. A clear floorplan was helpful though.
On the attractive homepage, a couple of newer shops and restaurants were highlighted.

The 'What is Bikini Berlin?' section gave an impressive level of detail on the history of the Bikini complex. (Out of interest, Bikini comes from a nickname given to the mall building in the 1950's - its two tier architecture reminded locals of swimwear!) There was also a well-hidden link to an online shop selling mall merchandise.
This page was accessible through two top bar links.

An Events and a Blog section provided reasons to keep returning both to mall and website. Services gave you all the information you needed about location, opening hours, restaurants and possible tours.

The collage above shows some of the items that grabbed me.

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Month in Online Merchandising : August

(Clockwise from top left) Ilcsi Apricot Gel Mask (from £30, Mango Textured Cotton Blend Dress £59.99, Ilcsi Sour Cherry and Blackthorn Gel Mask (from £30, Embossed Enamel Bowls from £8.95, A Lot on Her Plate recipe book £25

August is a slightly strange month. The run up to Christmas is extremely busy in retail, so you feel you should be taking some holiday now - it's sunny, it's the last time when you're really completely free to take time off, and you need to build up a reserve of energy for the months of September, October, November and December. And yet, a lot of people seem to take multiple, short breaks, maybe because, though comparatively it's less busy than September, it's not quiet - there are always meetings to attend, projects to work on, etc. August feels as if it's a month of coming and going.

In the midst of this transience, here's what I have planned:

- Some forecasting for seasonal offers/promotions - Halloween, Christmas, New Year...
- Making sure my pages chime with the tones of late summer - with the desire to picnic, or to dine al fresco, to cook with summer fruit and veg, and buy fresh flowers, to camp (at festivals, or somewhere more remote), to daytrip, to do implausible things like attend outdoor, nighttime film showings!
I'll be prioritising products that are practical for these sorts of activities, materials that are colourful, airy and light or hard and cooling.
- At the same time, trying to make certain pages more autumnal, with a focus on more muted colours, shades towards russets and plums, denser, cosier fabrics and so on. Items that are useful if you are lounging at home - reading, watching something, cooking - or if you are outdoors in slightly cooler, crisper weather, will be given more attention.
- Some competitive shopping and making a compendium of any interesting range presentation ideas I find.
- Throwing a launch party for a strategy I'm involved in communicating to my colleagues.

Hopefully, I'll manage to snatch enough time!

Well, have a great week!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Fabrics - Web Merchandising Case Studies and Examples

Scion Kamili, Shoji and Meiko fabrics, Medwinds EV dress £99 (from £150), Kusmi Genmaicha and Sencha Fukuyu tea £15.40 each, Muji Hakuji Porcelain Teapot and Cup £9.95 and £2.95

Like everyone, I suppose, I sometimes feel my job is pretty tricky.
To put things in perspective, I decided to have a look at some sites selling products that seemed inherently particularly hard to merchandise. I've always thought that fabric would be difficult to work with - colour and pattern pulling you in different directions (would colour be my main concern if I were buying fabric for some new curtains? or would it be pattern? it's very difficult to say), the risk of it becoming monotonous if you use only detail-shot thumbnails in your galleries, the high chance of not properly showing texture, or smaller, more delicate patterns, of you don't use close-ups...

I found several sites merchandising fabrics really well however, among them Scion.

If, from the arrestingly, engagingly designed homepage (as you scroll, the page pans down for you in a really enticing way), you navigate to the fabric department, you're met with an overview and room-setting image links to sixteen collections. The collections are listed alphabetically and clicking opens up a description of the inspiration and intention, and a thumbnail of each pattern. The arrangement of these thumbnails is alphabetical and the colours seem to have been chosen to be aesthetically pleasing - you have two earthy, natural dye tones next to one another, two faded grey shades together, etc.

The collection pages start with the description again and more beautifully-styled room-setting shots, each with bubbles you can click to reveal the names of the fabrics. Wallpapers in the same collection are also quite prominently linked.

After this you see the pattern thumbnails as above. Or you can click on 'colourways' to reveal the patterns, interestingly not arranged alphabetically this time, in every available colour. Here again, I think attention had been paid to the flow of the colours, particularly where one pattern ran into the next - an inky block print was next to a repeating, blue and red patch design, etc.
Alternatively, you could click on a thumbnail to view product details, an image in a room setting, alternative colourways and some complementary products.

From the fabric department page, you had a second option of viewing thumbnails of all fabrics (all patterns in all colours) at once. Here you could sort alphabetically, by recency, or by colour. The default ordering was definitely not alphabetical and I felt there might have been less deference to aesthetic-effect (more of an emphasis on best-sellers perhaps). Clicking a thumbnail revealed the same product details as before.

Overcoming the difficulties of merchandising fabrics, this was a really nice website, displaying really beautiful materials. I've incorporated my favourites from the Wabi Sabi collection into the collage above.

Have a great weekend!