As I was going through my daily ritual of skimming through my Google Reader and industry headlines, this one caught my eye, “Zappos Founder Launches New Voyeuristic Ecommerce Site.” I figured it was a teaser headline so after only a brief pause, I continued on. When I saw this one a minute later, “Zappos Founder Wants to Peek in Your Closet.” I knew it was something I had to read!
Nick Swinmurn does want to see what’s in your closet, as do many other marketers and advertisers. According to AdWeek, his new platform RNKD (pronounced ranked) opened to the public (in beta) on Wednesday, November 16th. In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Swinmurn said he felt there had to be a better way for vendors to know who their customers are and to create a channel of communication.
Mashable explains, “The concept is simple: Take pictures of all the things you have in your closet. Tag them by brand and purchase location and get rewards and deals based on your proven likes.”
In a statement to Huffington Post Swinmurn says, “Every consumer has favorite brands and stores they are loyal to, but most have never been recognized or rewarded for their purchases. If you buy more shoes from Nike than anyone else – shouldn’t you be given early access to new lines and different pricing than someone who is trying the product for the first time and may never buy again? ” Swinmurn argued that RNKD, unlike many other social sites, gives people an incentive to share.
There are tiered rewards, presumably to make sure beginners are able to win some deals. Users can earn points, badges and discounts by uploading, “liking,” commenting, or accumulating a particular brand as well as inviting friends and sharing via Twitter and Facebook. There are also individual ranks for the various types of apparel. The user can even peruse other people’s closets to find new brands (although you are able to make your profile private if you prefer).
According to a WSJ blog, the catch right now is that not many brands have jumped onboard yet, and it could be a while before the site reaches the scale that brands really begin to offer discounts. Currently the site shows users being rewarded based on weekly rankings with gift certificates from Zappos and Dethrone Royalty – two of Swinmurn’s own creations. The blogger notes brands currently have no control over how their clothing items, shoes, and accessories are being portrayed on RNKD, since the content is user-generated – to which Swinmurn replied, “We’re telling brands, that’s just real life. Here are the $100 shoes in people’s closets, next to the $20 pair, because that’s what people really own.”
So, as the old BASF tagline goes, “At BASF, we don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.” Swinmurn is betting that RNKD will revolutionize the brand loyalty arena by allowing retailers to offer the biggest discounts to those who deserve them – their biggest fans.
What do you think? Will you whip out your phone (yes, there’s an app for that) and start uploading pictures of what’s in your closet? Do you think Swinmurn is on the right path? I look forward to your feedback!