Do Emerging Designer Platforms Help?

Vogue UK recently announced that Alexa Chung would be introducing a new program to the VILLIOD app to attract emerging designers to sell. VILLIOD is an app that connects consumers and influencers via moodboards that sell products. Think of it as a shoppable, mobile and cooler Polyvore. This app currently works on an affiliate marketing model. If I curate a moodboard and you click on one of the products I used it will take you to the retailers site. If you buy, VILLIOD gets a percentage.

Bloggers and online curation sites have been using affiliate marketing for a long time. It was the primary way bloggers made money before they started charging hundreds of dollars per post. Using an affiliate marketing platform like Linkshare or RewardStyle has largely been reserved for big brands, making it difficult for emerging designers to take advantage of this kind of large scale distribution.

VILLOID is hoping to change the game for the small brands out there. All you need is an online shop, high quality images, a product data feed, have your logistics set up to ship, plus a 200 pixel logo. But, should you be running to sign up for this new app? Lets weigh out the pros and cons.

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  1. Having distribution on another platform is great for positioning.
  2. Being on a platform with hundreds of other brands, many of them larger, may not get you the sales or traffic to your site as you might hope. Studies show that people need on average 5-7 touchpoints before they actually buy. Your products will need to show up often to get the conversion you seek.
  3. VILLIOD is a social selling app. This means that you will want to be active and engaging on it. Do you have the time to engage on one more social platform? I always encourage less is more unless you have the bandwidth to take it on.
  4. Having the opportunity for influencers and consumers to curate your product is an amazing way to showcase your editorial and best sellers. This could happen just by having your products on there without any engagement.
  5. Do you release new products often? Generally these types of platforms do well if you have new releases that come out at least 2x a year if not more frequently since the people following you will get updates.
  6. Right now VILLOID suggests and preselects influencers and brands that you follow when you sign up based on your tastes and preferences. If smaller brands can become a part of that suggested/preselect of brands then that would do amazing for visibility. The problem that emerging brands tend to have is a lack of budget to compete with the TopShop’s in advertising spend.

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Final thoughts: I’m thrilled that Alexa Chung will be supporting emerging brands in this endeavour. It’s definitely headed in the right direction. My hope is that it does a lot for the brands in exchange for the work it will take to be on it. What do emerging brands need in a platform? Beyond an avenue to sell product they need marketing! If VILLOID promotes these new brands and helps to even the playing field visibility wise, with the Oscar de La Renta’s and TopShop’s that they prominently feature then I am a resounding YES.

 

(Images taken from the VILLOID app and emerge.villoid.com)

 

Syama Meagher is the CEO of Scaling Retail, the retail consulting company for startup and growth stage businesses. She specializes in sales, marketing and merchandising for wholesale, ecommerce and brick & mortar. To retain Scaling Retail for your launch or growth email: hello@scalingretail.com