My Virtual Model enables consumers to "try on" clothes online and this is a business model after my own heart! For companies, using My Virtual Model technology improves their bottom-line profitability by increasing revenues while cutting costs. As an IBM SOA business partner, MVM will be at IMPACT 2009.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Louise Guay, the MVM co-founder and wanted to share her insight!
Sandy: This year will be your first trip to IMPACT! What are you most looking forward to?Louise: I hope that I will have the chance to share our experience of social centrality and target advertising with the participants. The moneytisation of the social shopping and networking is “le sujet de l’heure” and we have an experience conducive to it! We can provide in the core of the shopping experience of merchants a usage of social media (Show me me how people like me wear this product!) and how the users can buy the entire look with a buy all button. Once the users register their profiles (their 3D models of themselves with a picture of their faces), ads can be targeted to them via banners or in emails or when they make their model appear on a product page. We have also an amazing network driving new clients to our merchant clients.
Sandy: I know that My Virtual Model has incorporated Social Media within the online shopping experience for Sears, Cosmopolitan and others. What is the reaction from customers and users?Louise: Merchants are anxious to make a sound usage of social media. From a merchant perspective these times command a strong metrics oriented results, we also know that users trust more and more their peers comments. Imagine if they can see their peers wearing what they like and would wear also. They can choose seeing it on similar peers body types or same ethnicity or any physical affinity they have with peers! It influences their purchases and drives strong recommendations. It is an effective outfitting approach. Publishers want to go from mass media to personalized media. My Virtual Model brings each and everyone of their readers to literally try on their fashion picks and hints and all the trends presented regularly in their magazines.Users are more and more visual and very involved in the process. They already rate products. If they can see the products on themselves and on others people similar to them it has a direct impact on their decision to purchase. It boosts their confidence in their styles, their looks and their tastes and preferences. Confirmed in their personalities they feel good to go and get what makes them look great. When we install our product on a publisher/media site like Cosmopolitan, users read fashion tips and trends and are always wandering what it will look like on them and where can they get it? These questions are answered by the virtual models of the users and the comments of other users on their models.
Sandy: What are some of the more popular elements of social media that users have really loved within the new My Virtual Model experience?Louise: Users enjoy discovering their personal styles. They also develop friendships, affinities of interests and support the efforts of others. Many great talents appear and are encouraged by the Community. Users love to create looks, publish them on their public page and get rated by other users. They also appear in the most recent and popular looks of the Community and rate other users looks. They love to click the “Try On Outfit” button and wear on their model an outfit created by another user. It is a great way to shop and buy outfits. It is quick and highly efficient. They love to describe their looks and tell a story about their looks. They also love to see how each item of their looks is worn by other users utilizing the feature “More looks featuring this item “
Sandy: Why did you choose to base this on WebSphere Commerce?Louise: WebSphere is well know for it’s foundational excellence and architecture of openness to integrate 3rd party applications that are user centric. By choosing WebSphere we were able to concentrate on what we do best, and leverage a powerful and robust ecommerce platform to create an innovative and solid shopping experience.This is exciting and thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights! I am looking forward to seeing you in Vegas next month @IBM IMPACT 2009[Read More]
Sandy Carter: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) -- Off the Record
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Judith Hurwitz as my Guest for Q&A! SOA for Dummies Second Edition back by popular demand! Get the ebooks at IMPACT 2009
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I still remember when the first edition of SOA for Dummies came out two years ago! These books were snapped up and the feedback was tremendous. With cost optimization and business agility being more critical than ever to companies in these economic times, the timing for a second edition could not be better. So I interviewed Judith Hurwitz a leader in the industry!
Sandy Why do you think that SOA is hot today?Judith: SOA has moved from a technology initiative to a business initiative. Many companies are looking to SOA to codify their business practices in repeatable manner. Many of the CIOs we have been speaking to are looking at the advantage of being able to create reusable services that they can use to gain flexibility. Companies are also looking at SOA to replace some of the inflexible packaged applications that are costing companies too much money to maintain and change. SOA is proving to companies that it can also allow them to innovate in ways that have direct impact on the bottom line.
Sandy: What was your motivation to work on the second edition for SOA for Dummies?Judith: When we wrote the first edition of SOA for Dummies more than two years ago most companies were still in the pilot stage. Many executives we spoke with had a sense that this was something important but didn't really understand it. Things changed dramatically in the past two years and we really wanted to provide more insight not just into the technology but into the ways that real companies across a wide spectrum of markets were being successful with SOA. We were so pleased that 24 customers were willing to not only talk to us but be named in the book.
Sandy: I understand you have spoken to 24 companies across 9 different verticals. Can you give us a sneak peek to some of their experiences?
Judith Hurwitz: There are so many significant stories that the CIOs told us. What has stayed with me is that these companies were starting with business strategy rather than starting with writing code. These companies were setting up centers of excellence to help guide the progress towards SOA. They were also spending considerable time on the organizational issues and business process issues. Several of the CIOs we talked to were able to use SOA to positively change the relationship they had with customers.
Sandy: Judith, I do believe this is your third consecutive year at IMPACT! Anything you could share with the readers about your IMPACT experience?
JudithImpact is really a unique conference. At the first Impact we noticed that attendees were so pleased to find like minded people that were trying to achieve the same goals for their companies. Before that first Impact these executives didn't realize there was a real movement happening. The next year there was a clear change. Executives and mangers now had real experience under their belts and were eagerly sharing best practices with each other. I have found Impact to be a very customer centric event offering real value. I am also struck by the fact that Impact takes a holistic view of both software and business aspects of SOA.
Great insights, Judith. Thank you!
I know we will be giving away the mini book versions at IMPACT and you will be there in person. At IMPACT, we will give away a copy of a Mini Book of SOA For Dummees V2!
Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas next month.