HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Aug. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Traditional retailers ought to be shaking in their platform stilettos. Today’s young, trendy shoppers are going straight to where their favorite “haulers” are taking them, a new online ecommerce site where they can share their fashion finds, HaulerDeals.
A “hauler” is a fashion or beauty guru that reveals her latest finds with an audience on YouTube. These hauler videos have hundreds of millions of views. That translates into a lot of trendanistas clamoring for the goods.
“YouTube vloggers posting their latest shopping finds aren’t just sharing recommendations with close friends,” said Todd Pollak, industry director, retail for Google. “They’re sharing with an audience of thousands of subscribers and millions of views.”
According to a recent study by Google and Compete, nearly one in three shoppers uses YouTube to shop for apparel, with video driving 37 percent of shoppers to an online store. Thirty-eight percent of Millenials are likely to rely on video to fuel their apparel shopping purchases.
HaulersDeals fuels them even further. The site, which industry insiders are calling revolutionary, allows hauler-following shoppers to purchase the head-to-toe fashion and beauty looks from their favorites. It provides a way for them to easily find and purchase the clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and beauty products from some of YouTube’s most-followed haulers. Each week, the haulers, who have equity in the company, gather their favorite styles called “crushes” from partner brands, and the site offers them at a discount off suggested retail prices. Items generally sell for less than $100.
It’s an understatement to say HaulerDeals keeps up with the most fashion-forward trends, a benefit to the look-hungry customers, who are mostly teen and 20-something women who love bargains. It also provides an enormous amount of awareness and exposure for the featured brands to this highly sought-after demographic.
“The brand exposure is huge. That’s what makes haulers and hauling exciting for us,” said Steve Hagstrom, vice president and general merchandise manager for lifestyle brand, Standards & Practices. “HaulerDeals is shaping a new retail model. Its fashion gurus help customers put together ‘their look’ and buy it online.”
“This is an amazing marketing tool for brands because it promotes them to the haulers’ followers who might not be familiar with them,” said Andrea Plsek, vice president of merchandising and brand development for HaulerDeals. Plsek is a 15-year veteran of the fashion industry who has managed one of the top showrooms in Los Angeles and New York and launched retail faves Black Halo and House of Harlow 1960. She currently negotiates the deals and discounts with brands that appear on HaulerDeals.
“It hits the right 15- to 25-year-old age demographic,” Plsek said, “and it leads them to items they can’t find in department stores. They might be able to find them in boutiques, but not at the prices they’ll see on HaulerDeals.”
The site integrates Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and image-tagging technology to direct traffic from the haulers’ sites to its own. In its first three days, it counted more than 600,000 views and 120,000 unique visitors. HaulerDeals already has over 100,000 Facebook likes since its mid-June launch.
Women’s Wear Daily says HaulerDeals is putting the power of YouTube personalities to drive sales to the test. Industry watchers say it’s passing that test–and then some. HaulerDeals’ sales projections are expected to surpass established traditional online stores like REVOLVEclothing, BoutiqueToYou and Singer22.
“The most interesting wrinkle is that the company is not relying on advertising to drive revenue,” wrote Michael Carney of start-up groundbreaker PandoDaily. “It’s building a social commerce engine by letting people buy the clothes, accessories, makeup, and jewelry products that the gurus promote in its videos.”
The company was seeded with $1 million in financing from Intelligent Beauty. IB is the parent company to fashion, cosmetics, and diet system e-commerce heavies JustFab, DermStore, Blush.com, and Sensa.
HaulerDeals founder and CEO Kenn Henman, a 12-year veteran of fashion PR, says the site will change how small fashion brands do business.
“It doesn’t have the high customer acquisition costs associated with most e-commerce firms due to the existing audiences of the YouTubers involved,” Henman said. “HaulerDeals is well on its way to becoming the next power influencer with online shoppers.”
It has also become a power force for the haulers, further increasing their value to the brands they hawk. It’s moved hauler darlings, including Dulce Candy, Holly Ann-AeRee, ThatsHeart, ItsJudyTime, XSparkage, and Sccasteneda–from girls who get home from the mall and empty their shopping bags for the camera to a critical fashion marketing force.
“A lot of viewers tell me they find stuff that they never would have found,” said Dulce Candy, a fashion and beauty guru whose YouTube channel, DulceCandy87, has more than 660,000 subscribers and whose videos have been watched nearly 150 million times. HaulerDeals “allows online personalities to show off their latest hauls, and [they] can be purchased from one direct site.”
Says Los Angeles television station KTLA: “These young trendsetters are sending retail sales through the roof.
To view this video on YouTube, please visit: http://youtu.be/EYke5yTyKes