E-commerce in online magazines

There has been a recent trend for magazines to integrate e-commerce in a more seamless manner for their readers. With new e-commerce capabilities, browsers have the ability to shop for products without leaving the original site. This convenience of having an on-site shopping cart would increase sales. In addition, it could potentially influence customers to try out new products that they wouldn’t normally opt for. 

Some magazines like Allure provides a similar experience, but only offers products from one retailer. Other magazines like Vogue or Elle use links to retailer sites and earn a portion for every sale. While this option is certainly more convenient for publishers, it isn’t at all for the customers. This is where 72Lux comes in. 

72Lux is a NYC-based startup that helps publishers transform their websites into successful online retail outlets. Currently, 72Lux has patent-pending technology like universal checkout, product catalog, brand management, data sharing, flexible customization, and multi-platform commerce solutions. 72Lux is now working with Essence and Teen Vogue to use a seamless check-out integration. Unlike other competing magazines, Essence and Teen Vogue will allow for their browsers to shop directly on-site rather than being directed to other retail sites. 

Hopefully more magazines will start utilizing this method of e-commerce, because it would definitely make online shopping a lot easier. 

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Et Tu, Olive Garden?

Applebee’s faced a huge backlash from the community when an employee uploaded a picture of a receipt where the customer refused to pay the given gratuity amount. The employee was then fired by the restaurant because the content of the receipt violated the customer’s privacy rights. This could have been an easy fix, but Applebee’s made several mistakes in regards to addressing people’s concerns and ultimately tarnished the restaurant’s reputation. 

Olive Garden hasn’t experienced the same fate, but the restaurant chain may have reached an all new low with online advertising campaigns. 

Last Wednesday, a picture of an Olive Garden receipt was posted on Reddit with the explanation: 

“My brother, wife, 3 year-old daughter and I went to Olive Garden after a recent house fire at my parents. When the manager asked how everything was my daughter said ‘Grandpa’s house burned down’. Here’s how we received the check.” 

 

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According to this article, the post received over 1,000 comments. However, many commenters were skeptical rather than supportive. There was one skeptic who worked in the advertising industry that claimed he had seen other companies/brands working on these kinds of campaigns to promote good will among their customer base. On the other hand, Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin believes that the receipt is real because a brand wouldn’t risk the potential harsh criticism if caught. 

Some comments mentioned that the placement of the Olive Garden’s logo was suspicious, but I think that someone who took the picture made sure to include the logo to give credit to the restaurant. If you look closely, the logo is on the typical black restaurant guest check book. In addition, I completely agree with Martin. Anyone who knows about Applebee’s blunder has blacklisted the restaurant. I highly doubt that Olive Gardens would put its reputation on the line for something as little as a picture of a receipt on Reddit. 

Project Glass from Google

This past summer I had an amazing opportunity to study abroad in Seoul, South Korea at Ewha Womans University. While I was there, I took an Introduction to Advertising course with Dr. Marina Choi of Korea University (formerly a professor from University of Texas at Austin).

One of topics we covered in class included the integration of new technology into advertising. For instance, we touched base on augmented reality and the effects on consumers. Dr. Choi gave us many examples of products that focused on augmented reality, but one that really stuck out was a video about Project Glass from Google.

While I was browsing through Mashable, I came across this article about Project Glass being released this month. I admit, the idea of Project Glass seems incredibly cool in terms of serious innovations in technology; day-to-day consumers would have the ability to interact with a variety of applications with something as simple as voice activation. Despite all of the cool things you could potentially do with the glasses, I’m not sold.

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I’m a firm disbeliever in blue-tooth headsets. I’m sure that it’s convenient when you’re driving 60mph on a highway while taking a business call, but when you’re walking around doing errands that are probably irrelevant to what you actually need to do while you’re “on call” doesn’t seem appropriate… ever. The Google glasses appears to be an upgrade to what the blue-tooth headsets do: walking around while talking to yourself. I’m sure the glasses are intended to let consumers interact more on their social networks and become “connected” with everyone around them. But honestly, do you really need to stop a conversation on your coffee date to check-in? And how many times are you going to serenade your friend while you’re Skyping with him/her on the rooftop?

If our future is headed off in a direction where we’re all going to wear headsets that basically disconnect us with reality, then Project Glass seems like just the product to do so.

Augmented reality seems great conceptually, but I prefer experiencing real life without constantly being connected to technology.

P.S. They look funny too.