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As it turns out, we got the power. Legendary retailer Neiman Marcus blames us, fashion bloggers, for slumping sales. As stated in an article in FORTUNE Magazine, the store reported a drop of 4.1% for the fourth straight time while competitors such as Nordstrom and Macy’s have too seen between a 1.02% and 1.32% drop.

What Retailers and Print Magazines Are Saying

According to Karen Katz, Neiman Marcus Group CEO, “Today, fashion shows are now blogged and broadcasted all over the world via social media. By the time the merchandise ships many months later, the newness and excitement has worn off and in many cases, the customer has moved on.” In other words, Pinterest, Twitter, tumblr and Facebook are showing the public upcoming fashions too soon?

Neiman’s isn’t alone in their thinking as Vogue is a bit unhappy with fashion bloggers as well. Sally Singer, the magazines Creative Digital Director said, “Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style.” Many fashion bloggers don’t blog about fashion for the money, trust me. In fact, many do it for free because they love the topic. Those, like myself, who actually make a living doing it are rare and it takes years to become established.

Neiman Marcus and VOGUE need to adapt to the new world if they are going to succeed and compete. We will never go back to the good ol’ days when stores and magazines will dictate where and when the public would see the latest fashions. Rather than blaming bloggers, engage and embrace these, now important, segment of he industry. We aren’t going anywhere.

Fashion Bloggers Have The Power

For well over a decade, fashion blogger’s have had as much power as some major magazines. With each new addition to the fashion industry, there have been and will continue to be casualties. Like the power of e-commerce could eventually bring down the need for brick and mortar locations.  Fashion blogging may just replace the need for physical publications. I know that I now read GQ via their app rather than buying the actual magazine.

Just because the power is shifting, there are many ways this could be beneficial for both the bloggers and the brands/stores. Smart brands have already partnered with fashion bloggers with their marketing campaigns. Karl and company cast blogger Peony Lim in a Chanel ad campaign.  Mulberry had Tanya Burr co-edit a video showing how the label’s bags fit into her daily life. It’s not only fashion brands who are bringing bloggers into the mix.  The beauty industry is evolving as well. Estée Lauder brought on Zhang Xinyuan as the ambassador for its No. 430 lip color, in which the blogger encouraged consumers to play the brand’s WeChat game. The effort gathered 12,000 comments and 239,000 views on the application.
The reality is, some bloggers have millions of followers, and they represent real people, especially Gen Y.  This generation represents $200 billion of buying power annually and $100 trillion in their lifetime. If retailers want to be successful, they need to embrace social media and the bloggers who represent them.

Tony-75-75Written By:  Tony Engelhart

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