Friday, August 29, 2008

CosmoGirl's concierge service almost works

In a partnership with NearbyNow, a service that allows consumers to search local store inventory and place items on hold for same-day pick up, CosmoGirl's new concierge service allows readers to shop products they see online or in the magazine and either "find local" or "buy online." It's a great feature (one that is certainly not limited to the teen audience) and appeals to the "gotta have it now" impulses common to some of us shoppers. I mean, when you see a pair of Converse All Star Light sneakers, you don't want them tomorrow, you want them now! Which is why I was slightly disappointed to click on the "find local" button and discover that my only two options were about 40 miles away in either Lakewood, WA or Puyallup, WA. Excuse me, but I live in the city of Seattle, and I should not have to 40 miles to the closest Famous Footwear retailer to get a very popular brand of shoes. Ditto for the shop online option, which took me to just one online retailer, also Famous Footwear.

So, the partnerships have a ways to go, but the functionality is great and I can see how this type of shopping might very well become the wave of the future. Which brings me to my next point: Hearst, the publisher of CosmoGirl, is smart to start with a teen publication in testing out this new technology. They can build a business case, test out new features and build long-term brand awareness relatively risk free-- and that's the beauty of being in the kids business.

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