In this assignment taken on during my graduate studies at SCAD, my group was tasked to create a niche social media site, complete with competitive analysis, market research, and designing the basic feature of the service.
We decided to explore the avenue of crowd-sourced fashion advice as a possibility, fueled in part by the growing popularity of Pinterest as a gateway for sharing fashion advice, how-to instructions, and other artistic fare. The result was AlterNation, a social site with the dual focus of DIY customizable fashion trends, and fair trade practices.
The majority of my contribution can be seen on this page, namely:
- competitive research regarding web traffic
- the "business model" of how revenue is generated
- key product features
- site structure
- page layout
- the pitch presentation
Competitive Site Stats & Other Web Metrics
To help establish who the players were in the niche we had chosen, I took a look at some web traffic data sourced from Experian Hitwise:
- Traffic Rankings: Top 3 Fashion Social Networks
This chart illustrates that Polyvore, the leading fashion-related social network, has enjoyed slow but steady gains in viewership while its two competitors have shown a drastic reduction over the same period.
- Trend Comparison: Leading Competitor Versus Related Categories
Polyvore has kept up with the general increase in social network traffic growth, while traffic to departments store sites and general apparel sites declined.
Our group surmised that while there was a single strong competitor in the market, with the rise in social network popularity and a steady interest in fashion, that our social network could stand a chance.
The User's Profile centers around the Closet (upper right corner). The Closet is a collection of a User's clothing items that they have manually added, or added via scanned receipt bar codes from participating retailers. These clothing items can be assembled into Looks, a combination of items that create an outfit. The Clippings section acts as a wish list for items the user has clipped from online fashion retailers.
Using tags (referencing brands, and other keyword data) Users add in the Closet and Clippings sections, Advertisers can target groups of Users for certain promotions, for example:
- Offer a coupon for Users listing an "end of season" item on their Clippings wish list
- Advertise styles similar to what a user posts in their closet from a competiting brand
Other areas of the site include the Blog / Article section featuring posts from fashion-minded celebrities and columnists; the Fashion Feed that displays a timeline of events from friends' shopping experiences, what they're wearing today, ongoing sales from favorited retailers, as well as the Account Settings panel where a user controls the access to their information, etc.
Black Paths, Solid - User Navigation
Green Paths, Solid - Transactional Areas
Green Paths, Dashed - Data Flow Used to Serve Ads, and Customize User Experiences
The User's main landing page that houses their news feed of styles, purchases, sales and more from the friends and brands they follow.
A Pinterest-style collection of fashion items and accessories collected from online stores, brand pages, and even the Closets of the User's friends.
Items in the User's personal wardrobe — represented by images from online retailers, or the images uploaded by the User; tagged by the User or through information gained from the UPC code of participating retailers.
The various outfits compiled by the User using items from their closet.