News__ Tumblr vs Google

November 22, 2010 | By

Last week was quite the week for e-commerce and now that the e-dust has e-settled, it's time to compare and contrast the two newest options for our credit card bills. First, let us introduce you to the contestants:

First up is Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo's Of a Kind. They launched it on Tumblr after conceptualizing it, "over the course of 25 frantic emails in 12 hours." It's the first boutique to hit Tumblr's microblogging sphere and it will feature 5-50 editions of a specific piece from an up-and-coming designer.

We already did a profile about the next contender, but let's do a quick review anyway. Google's Boutiques.com allows you to "make" your own boutique by pinpointing your sartorial tastes with a "stylyzer quiz". There's a lot of star power behind the business with icons like the Olsen twins, Nicole Richie and Carey Mulligan hosting their own boutiques for "followers" (Mulligan has over 1100).

Now for the categories:

BEST TO WINDOW SHOP

The winner is: Google.

Jammed packed with dozens of luxury brands, Boutiques is a catch-all for anyone who likes to covet above their income bracket. The site is easy to browse by color, pattern, style or designer. Clicking your way through "loves & hates" on the build-your-own-boutique style quiz is a fun diversion. After you keep telling it you hate yellow and turtlenecks, only to find a yellow turtleneck on your boutique page, the process gets a bit tiring but that's ok. You should probably get back to work anyway.

BEST QUALITY

The winner is: Of a Kind.

Granted, the prices are steep (no items under $250 so far), the magazine-style articles about the designer and their product prove that these "of a kind" editions are something special. Take the Crystal Ship Necklace by Lizzie Fortunato Jewels, for example. If you fall in love with it, you can consider it an investment, like art because it's only 1 of 25 in the world. If it's not your style, wait a week to find out what the next edition will be. Mazur and Cerulo know how to keep a girl coming back for more.

BEST PURCHASING SYSTEM

The winner is: Of a Kind.

This decision was based on the fact that Boutiques doesn't actually process purchases from its site--it redirects you to another shopping site (Macy's, Shopbop, Asos, etc). We found that sometimes the item ends up being sold out once you're redirected, dashing your hopes of those boots that Boutiques  specifically recommended for you. Shipping conditions differ from site to site which makes buying more than one item confusing. Of a Kind, on the other hand, uses shopify for all of their products. All you have to do is click that little "buy" button on the main site and you're on your way. Easy. Almost too easy.

BEST OVERALL CONCEPT

It's a tie.

Google's Boutiques and Tumblr's Of a Kind are equally intriguing. We like being able to browse the shopping lists of the internet's most famous style bloggers , but we also covet those unique pieces by designers we think should be in spotlight more often, like Mandy Coon.

FINAL TALLY

Ultimately these two sites are for different audiences.

Boutiques is for the seasoned online shopper--probably older or in some serious credit card debit. With a bit more hunting, we're pretty sure we can find the Alexander Wang pants of our dreams for less on eBay.

Of a Kind inches ahead for the win because of the intimacy the buyer has with the product. You won't be able to find their featured editions in stores, or even on the site after they all sell out. Congratulations Mazur and Cerulo, you made it onto our bookmark pages and into our hearts.

Now we're just waiting to see what e-commerce concoction Twitter will cook up. You heard it here first.

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