It's true that you can find inspiration anywhere…so why not look for it on your favorite retailer's website? Chances are, there's something on there that can inspire and influence you, be it the layout, a color scheme, or even just to discover a new, amazing product or designer to write about!
Here's a roundup of some sites that seem to be doing it right, stepping outside of the traditional retailer's website formula, and creating something extra special that just may awaken some creative juices. Sites range from luxury brands to member-only private sales, community selling, fast fashion, and more.
Of Note: Known for their avant garde designs, not any website will do for the design duo. Viktor & Rolf literally reimagines the space that we view the internet upon, through the shape of a square on our screens, and turns it on its head creating their content through a circle, centered in the middle of the page. This is a great example of when you think all of the ways of doing it has been done–thing again!
Blog Takeaway: Even the most simplest of concepts that we accept as an end-all be-all, i.e. viewing sites in a square shape, can be challenged, which is a great way to think about your blog, in order to stand out from the rest.
Of Note: This brand make's clear that from the second you go to its site and see the homepage, the crux of the brand's mission strikes you — it's about the details! With close, cropped in images, the viewer can develop a more intimate understanding and appreciation of the brand's signatures, without knowing much about it beforehand. It has also created a category, “Shop by Mood,” which produces a clean composite of pieces that create a complete outfit, and also offers a tumblr-like blog under the unassuming tab of “Waffling,“and a more extensive journal/magazine that lends an in-depth window into the true spirit of the brand.
Blog Takeaway: Use the site's great, detailed shots as examples for angles and zoom for your own, and remember that infusing some novelty and mystery via off-kilter titles, tabs, and labeling, can certainly create interest and curiosity in readers.
Of Note: Most are familiar with this site, however if you go to the “About” section, it states that. “Our mission is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world;” you had me at reimagine! The unified, clean layout that can be found in each shop makes it extremely easy to search and shop, while the correlation of like-minded goods on the homepage lures the visitor in to further click-through and explore. It's such a melting pot of varied creativity and entrepreneurs that it's easy to come across concepts, products, designer and shops that tout new and old memorable products.
Blog Takeaway: Use what you see on Etsy to inspire a photo shoot, color palette update, DIY project, or feature a new product or artisan found through the site. If you don't already, you can always open your own shop up too to be more in tune with the functioning and harmony of the Etsy community, which I find to be not unlike the blogging one.
Of Note: I've incorporated both of these sites as it's interesting how one brand with two lines, at different price points and with different customers, still manage to creatively exude the same vibe. Both sites do a fantastic job of conveying, fun, whimsy, and strong editorial elements, mainly tied together by an incredibly well executed use of theme and color.
Blog Takeaway: Saturday's FYI Guide uses a stop-motion motif when showing different ways to wear and use the products, which can certainly be translated into new ways of showing products and outfits on a blog. The overall mantra of keeping fashion light-hearted and eye-catching can certainly be enticing for readers, producing an approachable, comfortable aesthetic where they feel welcome to visit and engage.
Of Note: Zara mimics it's luxury fashion inspiration with everything from it's affordable clothing and accessories to its newly revamped stores and coordinating website. When on the site or in store, you don't feel like you're purchasing a $29.99 Stella McCartney “inspired” dress; the aesthetic elements in place have elevated your experience to make you feel like that luxury style you seek is actually within reach (for a song!).
Blog Takeaway: Even though Zara churns out style after on-trend style on a weekly basis, the brand doesn't feel that it needs to cheapen its image in order to convey that it sells affordable fashion. No matter what you write about or how much time you have to put into your blog, a well put together presentation is key to reader perceptions and return visits. There's nothing more off-putting than going to a site and being surprised with an outdated layout, blurry images, and cookie-cutter content, when a few minutes and utilizing free tool can quickly yield a more conscientious result. It can be more important to make sure you take the time to give the right impression on the overall aesthetic of the site, instead of getting up that next post.
Of Note: Much like Fab.com, Gilt, and other flash sale sites, Huckerry offers limited-time only goods, specifically catered to a male customer of all ages. The site does it, however, effortlessly and with such aplomb, that you will be mesmerized and close the window after buying a handful of unique quality items for the guys in your life for the holidays, even if they are still eight months away! Huckberry site stands out because it not only vociferously stands behind the products sold, but displays gorgeous imagery to showcase the latest sale, instead of just a static product against a solid backdrop.
Blog Takeaway: The extra effort to create beautiful images instills a sense of respect and trust from customers/readers, while the site goes the extra mile with well-written, original and thoughtful product background copy that will make you spellbound for products that you never thought you'd buy before. In a way, isn't this the essence of what a good blog should be Marrying fantastic images and text together in an original way? Yep, that's what I thought too!