This morning, Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey took a break from the madness of fashion week to unveil ShopBazaar, the magazine’s new e-commerce platform (and brainchild of publisher Carol Smith). Attendees at the breakfast launch, all of whom were provided with iPads to test out the platform, likened the site to fellow luxury shopping destination Net-a-Porter, but with a much more tightly curated collection of apparel and accessories (and a few designer exclusives), all chosen by Bazaar editors. Accordingly, the site has a strong editorial feel, with regularly updated sections built around specific trends and Bazaar’s “Fabulous at Every Age” franchise, as well as editor’s notes in certain item descriptions.
All inventory will be held, managed and distributed by outside retailers. The bulk of the merchandise comes from Saks Fifth Avenue (one of the site’s launch partners, along with American Express), supplemented by a handful of smaller websites, brick-and-mortar stores, and about 70 separate designers. Shoppers can collect items in a single ShopBazaar shopping cart, but will receive all purchases directly from their respective vendors. (Bazaar e-commerce director Pamela Kruse, who has dedicated the past 13 months to developing ShopBazaar, described the model as a luxury fashion version of the Amazon Marketplace.)
In addition to shopping via the ShopBazaar site and app (the tablet version will be released in October, followed by an iPhone app in February), consumers can shop directly through the pages of the print magazine. Beginning with the October issue, all items in the magazine that are available on ShopBazaar will be flagged with a special icon and stamped with a Digimarc watermark code. By snapping a picture of the item with their smartphones, readers will be sent directly to the item’s page on ShopBazaar.