Founded in 1998, Bluefly, Inc. is a leading online retailer of designer brands, fashion trends and superior value. The foremost online shopping destination features clothing and accessories from over 350 top European and American designers – all at amazing discounts. Bluefly is “the ultimate hookup for the fashion obsessed.”
Under the leadership of chief marketing office Bradford Matson, Bluefly is increasing their brand value by engaging people in new forms of communication, collaboration, education and entertainment. Matson understands fashion 2.0 and knows how to use it to attract new visitors to the Bluefly website. Bluefly also knows how to engage those visitors and ultimately how to convert them into customers.
When I visited bluefly.com, among the first things that I noticed were the variety of media and social channels available to site visitors. There were FLYPAPER and FLYTV. Then as I scrolled down the page, there were invitations to watch Closet Confessions videos, to sign up for Bluefly emails and to play FLY or BYE?. Near the bottom of the web page were Facebook and Twitter icons. The things that I noticed on the website are tools of the “Bluefly marketing strategy, broken into three sectors: marketing programs, social media and offline.”
“The company has also found success in television advertising on the Bravo network, an ideal vehicle for reaching its target ‘fashionista’ demographic,” Matson said, and in social media where it recently rolled out the Closet Confessions campaign.
“The goal is to drive new visitors to the site and increase the engagement of existing customers with videos,” said Bluefly chief marketing officer Bradford Matson. “People like Christian Siriano and Kelly Cutrone have become new-media celebrities. They have fans on Facebook and Twitter, they’re on reality TV; it’s a new world of style celebrities and we wanted to bring out their humanity.” Bluefly ran online ads and video about the site on Condé Nast magazine sites including: Allure, Vogue, Lucky, W and Glamour; Glam’s network, WatchMojo.com and YouTube.
Bluefly also has a blog, a Twitter account and a Facebook page, not to mention prominent promotions with reality TV shows Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model as well as the movie Sex and the City 2.
“While one-third of Bluefly’s traffic comes from search and another third from e-mail, social media has been ‘very useful,’ said Matson. “It’s deepened our relationship to customers, increased spikes in traffic, and it catches the interest we create with off-line advertising.”
According to a recent article in Direct Marketing News, “Turning to social media is one way that Matson addresses the challenge of consumers who have snapped their wallets shut over the past few years, in the face of an increasingly painful recession and rising unemployment. In 2009, Bluefly’s revenues fell about 15% year over year to $81.2 million. It cut the marketing budget by about $6 million last year.”
“We stepped back and cut off offline advertising and spent our energies on learning about social and working with the marketing programs,” Matson said.
Bluefly was the first national retailer to use bar codes in its television commercials. Last month, according to a New York Times article, “From the comfort of their sofas, mobile-phone users can scan a bar code embedded in commercials on certain evening shows on Bravo and instantly obtain additional information about a product and a discount to buy it. The 45-second commercials by the online fashion retailer Bluefly show snippets of its Closet Confessions interviews with designers and celebrities like Bethenny Frankel, who appeared on The Real Housewives of New York City and the Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir … The commercials were seen on Top Chef, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of D.C., Flipping Out, Top Chef Just Desserts and The Rachel Zoe Project through the fall season.”
“When the cellphone is pointed at the on-screen bar code, the user is linked to a complete closet-baring episode, which can run as long as five minutes, and offered a $30 discount on a $150 purchase at bluefly.com”
Bluefly hopes that the ease and convenience of clicking on a bar code will encourage more viewers to learn about their website. Online Closet Confessions fans, Mr. Matson said, have increased their shopping orders an average of 50 percent, from $300 to $450. “We have added new style stars after the Web video series was so successful … We got a half-million page views the first month we launched it. Closet Confessions, Mr. Matson said, “is custom-made for the fashion obsessed.”
The Bluefly website is a delight to visit. It is not just because of the great values offered on designer fashions. Besides, there are numerous, discounted luxury brand websites on the Internet. Bluefly leads the pack due to their creative CMO, Bradford Matson. His integrated, multichannel marketing approach combines the fundamentals of a successful social media strategy with traditional marketing tactics.
Bluefly learned the basic rules of social media for business well by facilitating communication (i.e., email, Twitter, Facebook. iPhone app), collaboration (i.e., Facebook, FLY or BYE?, Closet Confessions) , education (i.e., website, Twitter, Facebook) and entertainment (i.e., FLYTV, Closet Confessions) as engagement strategies to enable conversation and influence conversations.
In the end, it’s all about engagement. Bluefly succeeded at collaborating with and entertaining their fan base. They found their niche and used a blue ocean strategy that took them to the next level, well above the others that sell designer clothing at discount prices online.
“We all spent years trying to build this perfect mousetrap. We figured that you would just go there, but that’s never going to work,” Bluefly CMO, Bradford Matson says. “What we have to do is know enough about you, so when you land there we can show you paths of shopping to get to where you want. It’s a combination of personalization and customization.”
October 26, 2010 | Categories: Fashion & Social Media Marketing, Fashion On The Web | Tags: Bluefly, Brad Matson, Christian Siriano, Closet Confessions, e-commerce, Facebook, Fashion, Fashion 2.0, Kelly Osbourne, Social Media Marketing, Twitter | Leave a comment