Establishing that all-important link between social and shopping is ultimately the name of the game in digital marketing. The thought process is that if shopping can be a social activity offline, it can become a social activity online as well. The problem, however, is that often it’s easy to lose sight of the basic “fun” factor that the social in the equation should be delivering. Moreover, the fundamental question of whether to bring the product to the party or, conversely, the party to the product, remains.
Part of the issue is that up until now, shopping and social have been housed on different platforms, which has led to a de-contextualization of either the shopping or the social activity. This goes against the grain of the original purpose of the platform and – like all things that have to be forced – doesn’t really translate to “fun.” Case in point: the dismal fate of f-commerce.
London-based Motilo is a one-part social platform, one-part shopping destination that seems to have made a successful stab at putting social into shopping. What’s the secret? They’ve actually made it all rather fun.
Last week, I had the pleasure to sit down with Sofia Barattieri, CEO and founder of Motilo, to learn more about the site. Essentially, Motilo proposes an updated version of the old the “paper doll” game – you know, the one our mothers’ generation played by cutting out outfit drawings and attaching them to a paper doll.
Except Motilo’s “paper doll” is far slicker. Using bespoke technology, the site offers a digital, interactive blank canvas on which to create looks. The styles benefit from access to an infinitely covetable wardrobe, courtesy of Motilo’s network of prestigious e-commerce affiliates that provide the site with their virtual product.
Drawing from a curated selection of stock from Net-a-Porter, Browns, My Theresa and Shopbop (to name a few), Motilo encourages users to play around and create their own fashions, Barattieri explained. Moreover, users have the option of involving real-life friends in the process, publishing the look on the site, getting feedback from within the Motilo community, as well as sharing the looks across social media platforms. Every product available on the site is shoppable by linking through to the affiliate’s own website to make the final purchase.
However, this means that the Motilo-branded “experience” inevitably ends at creating the look. As each item must be purchased individually (if it’s housed by separate e-tailers), considerations such as user size or desired color being in stock are outside of the site’s control.
Nevertheless, where Motilo’s approach excels is by virtue of its focus on creating looks; its sharable commodity is no longer the individual product but the user’s own composition. Interestingly, this makes the social element less embroiled with the transactional and creates an environment where a user’s Facebook community, for example, is called on to respond to the overall result rather than the users’ own predilection for pricey fashion products. After all, while some people may welcome sharing their taste for luxury, others may prefer to be more discrete about their spending habits.
Motilo removes this potential social faux pas and instead enables users to start a dialogue about fashion and between fashion lovers online, positioning itself as both a forum for debate and a premier transactional portal. Just last week, the company introduced its Facebook app, tightening its strategic link with ‘social’ by offering users the opportunity to create looks together where they are already with friends. As might be expected, a mobile and tablet app are soon to follow, as is the move to unveil bespoke clip-and-crop tools that enable users to grab product from further astray in order to create even more unique looks.
Motilo is also looking to introduce new branded boutiques, where the company effectively hosts and manages the e-commerce operation for a curated selection of exciting young brands – such as Newbark and Muzungu Sisters – allowing it to add a quirky point of difference to the overall site’s offering.
Motilo’s proposition is an innovative, interactive way of combining social and shopping, while ticking that all-important “fun” box.