Google Enters Fashion (The Guardian)

Source: The Guardian, Nov 2010

Not content to revolutionise online search and email, Google is preparing to enter the fashion business on Wednesday with a website believed to be called Boutiques.com.

The attraction is obvious: with conservatively estimated revenues of $500bn (£310bn) worldwide making it the fourth largest industry globally, and estimated to be worth £37bn to the UK economy alone, fashion represents a potential e-commerce honeypot to the search company.

The fashion industry publication WWD reports Google is not itself planning to be a vendor; instead, its fashion-dedicated website will direct customers towards existing retailers such as Net-a-Porter and Asos, or designer’s sites. It has also asked mostly American designers such as Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta and Marchesa to set up virtual shops within the site.

In addition, Google is hiring Sarah Jessica Parker to establish a personalised shop and has invited other celebrities, including Tom Cruise’s wife Katie Holmes, to do the same.

The fashion industry is moving more of its promotional and sales business online. It hopes shoppers will create profiles describing their preferences and make it easier to focus advertising and marketing efforts. In theory, Google’s revenue will come from advertising and it could charge click-through fees or take a cut of sales.

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