Fashion and you: Whats happening there?

Yahoo occupied a lot of the gossip grapevine over the last few months over various structural changes which took place within the organization amid which there were numerous resignations handed over.

One of the more prominent moves was that of Pearl Uppal and the consequent news that she was launching her own portal with Harish Bahl called www.Fashionandyou.com (covered reasonably extensively by Alootechie and Watblog). An exclusive , private , property wanting to reach out to the cream of the society with respect to its defined TG as well as the offerings (products) which it was going to make.

I have been trying to follow the developments on this property as closely as I can. It’s a relatively new model to enter the market and I am keen on seeing how it develops and gets accepted within the Indian market. Unfortunately, nothing seems to be moving.

The launch date for the website (and I assumed the products as well) was mid November – the website launched in time but nothing has taken place beyond that. What does seem to be occurring is a viral effort by the team to get as many members as possible. Earlier just prior and post to the launch, the ability to get an invitation was reasonably difficult – but the objective currently seems to be exactly that – the site is giving freebies (high end bags) and a credit of 1000 for people referring other people.

There are 2 aspects which one thinks of – Firstly why is nothing being sold on the site despite it being almost a month and a half old. Can we assume that there are have been significant hurdles in the acquisition of high end brands at discounted rates for the consumers – the site boasts of discounts of upto 70% which I am sure are not easy to manage. Discount the fact for the time being that some brands might think this to be a dilution of the premium image that they seek to position themselves in within the market.

The second being for me is the target audience. If the site had started off with a for all approach at the beginning then one would not have given it a thought, and that type of approach would have been fine fundamentally – if one is in a position to offer products at 70% off, then the TG with the necessary disposable income which you need to reach out to increases substantially. But the entire approach was exclusivity – which seems to be getting diluted. At this point in time I can get an invite from numerous sources; almost 8 people I know are members (Who will never really buy the products) and scores of others who piled in wanting the giveaway bags or the 1000 INR credit – and when they realize that a 1000 bucks is not going to go a long way, they will probably form a substantial base of inactive members.

Of course , as mentioned above, there is nothing wrong in reaching out to the masses – the larger the consumer segment , the broader your sales funnel but why then try and aim for a positioning which was not going to be implemented eventually?

Are they exclusive because of the restricted member base (Obviously not), because registration is by invite only (Diluted given the number of ways one can get a membership now) or is it because of the products that are on offer (Currently none) – the first two are clearly out in my opinion which only leaves the products being offered but I don’t see anything exceptional in that.  There are multiple sources online where luxury items can be purchased – the only thing which will differentiate Fashionandyou.com from others could be the price point (70% off) – In which case it eventually boils down to it being a website aiming to create a USP basis price and nothing else – which in turn translates for me into them being a run of the mill model , and nothing different to begin with – leaving aside the fact that the sale might only be on for a few days instead of the product being permanently listed ( Till the seller decides to remove it) on other sites. Even then, the urgency is not the number of days, but that the product is available at a particular price point for a set time period i.e. we come back to money again.

The sites blog speaks about a lot of stuff taking place, conversations with players and people in similar fields across the globe, promotions, website launch etc but there really has been no physical manifestation of any movement forward – other than the website getting launched, which while significant as a physiological milestone perhaps, is not a big deal. A couple of dozen pages at max, integrated with a database allowing for record tracking of sales and registrations – pretty simple.

I would have liked to have seen the site take off by now. And while they might still be able to manage something within this year, I would have assumed that they might want to target the festive season coming up with regard to their product offerings appearing on the site.

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