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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Fashion Advertising Goes Crazy

I am about to point out to you a new trend in advertising that may blow your mind.  It is the concept of clothing stores driving web traffic to their competitors websites.  Am I nuts, or does that concept sound off the wall.

Fashion advertising is not what it once was?  In the past it was rather simple. Clothing companies would advertise in fashion magazines, news papers, on the radio, and billboards.  The very large apparel companies would advertise on television.

Along came the internet and the game changed.  The world of fashion advertising expanded into an entirely new realm of possibilities.   The industry continued to advertise with traditional methods, but at the same time began to advertise in ways that one would almost consider to be crazy.  

A prime example of border line insanity is the concept of clothing stores placing advertisements on their own websites for "other" clothing stores.

Below is an example of advertisements on the Macy's website March 15, 2016. Toward the bottom of this clothing retailers page they have advertisements linking to TheLimited.com, Lands End, Zulily, and others.  Although I am not an expert, I believe those other companies are competitors of Macy's.  You can click below to enlarge the image.  
Macy's is not the only fashion company taking part in such activities.  Below is a page from JCPenney March 15, 2016.  You will see toward the bottom of the image the Google ads, which potentially link viewers away to the Chadwicks, Blair, Shopsteal, and other websites.
It is important to note that the Google ads that appear on the Macy's & JCPenney website will most likely rotate to different companies.  These retailers possibly set the filters to exclude some key competitors, but I am really not sure if they actually utilize that feature.  Even if they do filter out some of the other competitive boutiques, they are clearly linking to competition as illustrated in the images above.

Let's keep in mind that other apparel retailers are utilizing similar strategies, so I am really not trying to pick on Macy's and JCP.  They are simply the first two that I noticed this evening.

Is this sort of fashion industry advertising genius or foolish?  Do you think that we need to put the marketing department into straight jackets?

The real question with this sort of advertising is, "are retailers simply grasping for earnings because they are not converting enough viewers into buyers on their own site?"  In other words, are they forced to try and earn advertising revenue because they are not making enough sales revenue?  

The concept being, some websites have tons of traffic, but are possibly not converting enough "viewers" into "shoppers" (buyers).  Rather than simply watch viewers enter the site and then leave with out any sort of earnings, it may be better to earn advertising commission by sending the viewer else where.

Is this method of earning money from a retail web site a sign of weakness or intelligence?

You may also have interest in viewing our recent article about some of the American Apparel advertisements.

Learn more about fashion marketing in our terminology section.

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