LOFT Enhances Product Reviews

Looks like LOFT is updating/showcasing their peer-generated product reviews in a much bigger way.  I received an email today with a promotion where you can enter to win $1,000 by writing a product review.

LOFT-product-reviews

Seems they have made this aspect of their site more prominent, and bulked up the number of reviews recently. I couldn’t honestly recall if they always had reviews on their site or not, but the earliest I could find a review from is late September 2012, so seems that they are relatively new. I think the way they are treating them on site is clean, easy to read, and overall a great enhancement. Now shoppers can use the reviews in conjunction with the product descriptions to add a “real-person” element to their shopping decision. LOFT has nailed both the quantitative (# of hearts) and qualitative elements (allowing users to create their own headline and description of the item).  Similar to Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy, I love how LOFT has incorporated the reviewer’s age and body type along with their review itself.

loft-product-review-on-site

I also thought it was helpful that on the left hand side they have advanced filters to narrow which reviews you see, and in addition to an overall star rating, you can see the % of users that recommend this product overall. I definitely read the product reviews when they are available, particularly to decide if I should size up or down, and to get a better sense of the fabric.  Great addition!

product-review-overall-score

In-Store Discounts, Today Only

I received two emails this morning within hours of one another, each promoting discounts for in-store purchases, today only.  Both LOFT and Banana Republic served up these offers to my inbox.  I had a few hypotheses on why this may be:

– Retailers are trying to drive mid-week sales to their physical locations on typically slower traffic days

– The end of October is quickly approaching (which is when retailers report monthly sales, and also end of October is typically when retailers close their books for fiscal third quarter).  This means there may be even more emphasis/urgency around driving comp store sales

– Sheer coincidence?!

Anyone else seen promotions for mid-week discounts, only redeemable in stores (not online)?  Have theories on the “why” behind this?

Subject line: 50% off EVERYTHING (in stores only)

ann_taylor_email

 

Subject line: Today only: 40% off in stores.

banana_republic_email

Online retailers go offline to capture attention

Today’s mail contained a promotional piece that caught my attention – from Fab.com.  The direct mail piece was a tri-fold that opened and highlighted five of their upcoming flash sales, showcasing products and listing out the dates the sales will be live. It didn’t feel particularly relevant or personalized (I am not a pet person and explicitly opted out of their “Pets” editions), but I am guessing they are targeting their existing mail file. Rather than the messaging being explanatory about what Fab.com is (targeting new members), it seems they are going after re-activating members who have made past purchases but whose activity has lessened recently, trying to intrigue them by reminding them of Fab.com’s existence and array of product offerings.

fab.com-mailer-1

fab_com_mailer3

I was intrigued that this online start-up is testing or experimenting with direct mail, and am curious what their return on investment for a piece like this is.  I’ve been impressed with Fab.com throughout the year, particularly with the operational focus and gains they have made in reducing their delivery times.  While I didn’t expect to see a direct mail piece like this from them, it did catch my eye and stand out, felt true to the Fab.com essence of quirkiness and sleek design, and likely achieved their goal of making them more top-of-mind for me as a shopper.

Seems that a handful of online-only sites are taking holiday season efforts to reach customers through non-online ways. One Kings Lane debuted television advertisements two weeks ago, and Piperlime and Shopbop have each had major print ads in fashion magazines like Vogue and InStyle recently.  All of these strike me as engagement plays trying to remind their current customers of their existence, rather than user acquisition moves.

I’ll be paying attention throughout the holiday season at who else in the online world is taking offline efforts to capture consumer attention.