Spectacular gift capsules from Rue La La

Rue La La created holiday capsules on the Gazillion Gifts part of their site in a super creative way. I love the combination of hand-drawn illustrations, typed banners/signs, real merchandise, props and photographs of gift wrapping elements like bows, ornaments and gift boxes with ribbon. The way they styled these capsules and pulled the page together really brought forth feelings of whimsy and and a warm festive vibe.  It feels like you’re in a boutique store with white walls,  practically getting to touch and feel the display. Nicely done!

A few screenshots:

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Lauren Merkin Pinterest promotion: 3 easy steps

I received the below email yesterday from LaurenMerkin.com, announcing a Pinterest sweepstakes. I’ve seen a number of brands conduct Pinterest sweepstakes/contests, and this stood out to me in a positive way as one of the cleaner and easier implementations for users to understand what is required of them.  I particularly liked the way they broke it down into simple steps/directions for users to follow.  All too often, I’ve seen brands include paragraphs of text, where users really need to focus and digest the instructions. Lauren Merkin made it clear and straightforward as to what is required to enter.

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My main suggestion to improve this communication would be to add a prominent call-to-action, like a “go now” or “enter now” button that links to their Pinterest page. Currently if you click the image, it does link there, but this isn’t readily apparent.

When I searched Pinterest for #LMWishlist, nothing came up. This seemed strange to me because I would expect that they’d seed content themselves. Perhaps there is a delay on Pinterest before search results for hashtags appear.  When I search for “Lauren Merkin”, I do see a handful of entrants, but the hashtag is noted in the comments instead of the description so it’s not clickable.  According to articles on Oh So Pinteresting and Hashtracking, hashtags are only searchable and linkable when they are in the Pin description (not the board or account description). I am unclear on what happens if users include a hashtag in the comments section but this may be the problem.  (ex. See sparkly bag in 3rd column below):


Lauren Merkin’s account does pin quite a bit (1,000+ pins) and have adorable cover photos for each of their boards, but it looks like their Pinterest offering is in its infancy (under 200 followers). I am under the impression that this promotion is an attempt to spark growth in their # of followers. This is likely important for them during the holiday season since it’s so widely reported that Pinterest is effective as a channel for retailers to generate sales.  I’ll be curious to check in a few weeks and see how effective this was for them in terms of new follower growth.

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Zulily generates smiles

I got this email from Zulily today about a huge toy sale, and it totally caught my attention due to the adorable and recognizable “Very Hungry Caterpillar” that moved across the screen.  Here’s a close-up of him inching his way along.


This happened directly under the words “Give Playtime” in the below screenshot of the overall email: Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 7.05.54 PM

I’ve written about clever animation before; I find it to be a very effective method of capturing user attention, particularly when done in a creative way that elicits a smile, like this.  They did a good job of just animating one small portion of the email so it didn’t become overwhelming. This small treatment packed a lot of punch!

After scrolling further down through this email, I was also intrigued by the “Coming Soon” section where users are encouraged to click the hearts next to any brands you want to be notified about specifically:

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I think Zulily did a great job of making this email very easy and straightforward to take action on. Immediately after clicking a heart, you are taken to a page about that brand, letting you know that you now “love” that brand.  No extra steps required; just one click on the email itself.  I thought this was a strong implementation of encouraging users to set advanced preferences in a very simplistic and compelling way. My only suggestion was to make the list of brands shown even more well-known, as I was only familiar with about half of these.



Anthroplogie.com takes a layout cue from Pinterest

I was just on Anthropologie.com and noticed that they’ve made their product pages similar to Pinterest in the look and feel. They’ve walked away from a standard grid format, and the default styling is now a staggered approach more encouraging of constant scrolling and discovery.

Here’s what happened when I clicked on the “Dresses” in the standard left-navigation menu:

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They give consumers the option to revert to a standard grid format in the top-right corner. I wonder if they are A/B testing each layout as the default to see which results in more clicks and purchases.  If not, I’d encourage them to do so!  I would be so curious as to the results.

As you scroll down, you see a “back to top” arrow similar to Pinterest as well:

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I’ve seen lots of aggregator sites mimicking the Pinterest approach (Lyst, Styleseek, etc), but I haven’t seen individual retailers employ this technique on their site. I wonder how effective it is.

Free shipping season?

Seems coincidental, but the past few days I noticed an emphasis on free shipping promotions and messaging from non-traditional retailers.  Rent The Runway, Gilt, One Kings Lane, and Joss and Main each sent emails highlighting free shipping in the subject line (rare of them). Strange coincidence of timing.

Rent The Runway subject line:

Finally! Free Shipping for One Year!

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Gilt subject line:

Free Shipping: Our Gift to You + Balenciaga Handbags, …

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One Kings Lane subject:

Free shipping for the holidays is here!

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Joss and Main subject:

Get free shipping through the season. Enjoy smart and stylish holiday shopping.

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I  predict we see a huge amount of free shipping offers this holiday season and that retailers will remove the price of shipping as the barrier for purchase.