Cosmetics: Technology and Social Networking Create a New Paradigm

Articles
January 07, 2009

The New York Times recently addressed the state of the fashion magazine industry in a piece about Vogue, one of the most regarded names in the fashion magazine industry. The magazine’s number of advertising pages fell in 2008 by 9.6%, and they weren’t alone - other competitive books fell by eight percent. The point made in this piece was to highlight the fashion magazine world's lack of understanding of the online social world being led by sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and many more. Vogue's ad sales falling dramatically makes a strong statement for retailers in the fashion and cosmetic business, being that traditionally, women in particular have relied on flipping through these magazines for keeping up with these trends and finding new products, sometimes the selling point being what the hottest celebrities were sporting. And with the state of the economy leaving consumers with less money to spend on extras, online sites and social networks now provide a cheaper and more immediate avenue for keeping up with the Jones'; and at the same time building a community of like minded women. DailyMakeover.com is an excellent example of bridging the fashion magazine with online social networking. In addition, this site offers something a print magazine can't - a virtual makeover. Here's how it works:

The New York Times recently addressed the state of the fashion magazine industry in a piece about Vogue, one of the most regarded names in the fashion magazine industry. The magazine’s number of advertising pages fell in 2008 by 9.6%,  and they weren’t alone - other competitive books fell by eight percent. The point made in this piece was to highlight the fashion magazine world's lack of understanding of the online social world being led by sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and many more.

Vogue's ad sales falling dramatically makes a strong statement for retailers in the fashion and cosmetic business, being that traditionally, women in particular have relied on flipping through these magazines for keeping up with these trends and finding new products, sometimes the selling point being what the hottest celebrities were sporting.  And with the state of the economy leaving consumers with less money to spend on extras, online sites and social networks now provide a cheaper and more immediate avenue for keeping up with the Jones'; and at the same time building a community of like minded women.

DailyMakeover.com is an excellent example of bridging the fashion magazine with online social networking. In addition, this site offers something a print magazine can't - a virtual makeover. Here's how it works:

Subscribers have a choice of a free account, three months for $14.95, or a year for $29.95, each offering  access to a different  level of benefits.  We took the free account for a test run. By signing up for this free service, subscribers are entitled to uploading of one photo for virtual makeovers, special email offers and coupons, being a part of a social network of other makeover participants which can in addition interact with profiles on Facebook and Myspace, and we also found special offers for non-cosmetic products such as food products and baby products.

Although the virtual makeover part is lacking in precision, and can come across a little silly, the concept is a fun and interactive way for subscribers to try on everything from their favorite celebrity's hairstyles to mascara, lipsticks, and even dental work. The subscriber uploads a simple photo of their face, and then goes through a series of steps to adjust the shape of the face, eyes, mouth, and shoulders. The process takes just a few minutes. The hardest part is making sure the photo has the right lighting, definition, and size, to actually work without being more comical than helpful.

Just like many fashion magazines, the site offers blogs and beauty tips from top stylists to the stars and makeup experts. And, features new products with ratings and comments by users, and then special offers to purchase them. Users can share through their friends' networks their own finds and tips as wells as their virtual makeovers.

Dailymakeover.com may not be a substitute for fashion giant Vogue yet, as it is limited to cosmetics and hair care, and certainly does not include the high quality and award winning editorial content. However, there is a lesson to be learned for retailers: pay attention to the concept of marrying sales with one of the Internet world's most present and powerful trends --  social networking.