It seems like everyone in fashion world is excited about Google’s next move: a project tentatively named Boutiques.com that will be unveiled at a party in New York City tomorrow night.
Industry publication Women’s Wear Daily was able to obtain a few details about the new site yesterday from inside sources. Most notable: Like Polyvore, users will be able to set up and share their own “shops.”
There’s also a celebrity angle, as Google “has tapped Sarah Jessica Parker to set up her own personalized shop and is reportedly wooing Katie Holmes to do the same.” According to blog Frockwriter, the search engine has landed even more A-listers, including “Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham, Emma Watson, Anna Wintour, Rachel Zoe and even Michelle Obama.”
High-profile fashion bloggers have also been invited to create boutiques, reportedly “in exchange for a one-off payment of (low) five figures.” And designers including Oscar de la Renta, Tory Burch, Isaac Mizrahi, Cynthia Rowley, Marchesa, Tracy Reese, Prabal Gurun, and Erin Fetherston will also have their own shops on the site.
Vanessa Friedman of Financial Times thinks that Google is merely, “protect[ing] their back.” She explains, “though search engines are traditionally the biggest source of traffic for fashion brands, according to Luxury Digital IQ…traffic from social media sites like Facebook more than doubled last year….If you’re a brand, why pay lots of money to advertise on a search engine, when your consumers are coming from elsewhere? Google is just leveraging its users, though they haven’t revealed anything about their fee structure…”
Google will not host or sell merchandise — instead, users will click through to the brands’ respective e-commerce platforms (with, we assume, Google taking a small portion of each transaction). Aside from enabling users to create and share their own boutiques, there will reportedly be other social networking features and games. WWD describes the user experience as “function[ing] much like Google Search or Google Shopping under the covers, but the part visitors will see will look like high-end, personalized luxury boutiques — an environment and approach to search and shopping that is more appropriate, efficient and appealing to fashion lovers and designer brands than Google’s existing options.”