Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

ModCloth Launches an In-House Pinterest

ModCloth, the retro women’s online clothing store, has created a community page where users can post pictures of themselves wearing and styling their purchases.

You can think of it as sort of an in-house Pinterest, populated with photos of real people wearing items that can be purchased with just a couple clicks.

Or more precisely, it’s akin to the many personal style apps — SkinnyScoop, Polyvore and Stylebook among them — but coming directly from ModCloth, it’s a retailer combining content, commerce and community all in one place.

The “Style Gallery” ties into ModCloth’s efforts to make customers feel as though the site is their online home. “This is the place where she comes to buy stuff but also to be part of the community and feel part of the brand,” said ModCloth co-founder and CCO Susan Koger. “We have a percentage of visitors coming more than 10 times per day.”

The Web-based feature helps customers upload photos of themselves and annotate them with products they’ve bought on ModCloth with a neat paper-doll interface. Then the photos are tiled into a Pinterest-esque gallery.

Koger said ModCloth already thinks of its products as editorial content. It releases up to 50 items each day and posts about them on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In fact, the company has more than 1.5 million followers on its own Pinterest account.

Koger said the Style Gallery goes beyond those product posts to help ModCloth users showcase their own style. It will also ideally bring a lot of social engagement onto ModCloth itself. Today, users can click to “love” posts. Friending and following features are coming later, she said.

ModCloth has 350 full-time employees in offices in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and about $45 million in venture funding. Koger said the company expects 50 percent yearly growth in top-line revenue, but wouldn’t get more specific about finances.

The question behind all this is: Where is the best place to combine shopping and inspiration? Pinterest has the inspiration side covered, but its users are often many clicks away from actually purchasing a product. Retailers like ModCloth have items for sale, but they don’t have Pinterest’s scale.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work