E-retailer Bluefly reaches out to shoppers through their TV screens

Bravo TV ads include bar codes that viewers can scan with their phones.

Nesli Karakus

E-retailer Bluefly Inc. is using a new technology in a novel way, enabling shoppers watching Bluefly commercials on the Bravo TV channel to scan on-screen bar codes with their mobile phones to get additional web-based content.

The shopper scans a two-dimensional bar code, known as a Quick Response or QR code, that appears on the lower half of the TV screen during the 45-second commercials that Bluefly calls “Closet Confessions.” The spots feature celebrities showing the apparel in their closets. Once the shopper scans the QR code with her phone she’s taken to a landing page that presents her with additional content and offers from the apparel and accessories retailer.

The current 45-second “Closet Confessions” episode features reality show celebrity Bethenny Frankel of the Bravo TV show “Bethenny Getting Married?”. When viewers scan the QR code, they see an extended video of Frankel and an offer of a $30 discount on purchases of $150 or more.

“It’s an elegant solution and really speaks to the kind of customer that Bluefly has. She loves fashion, is text-savvy and likes to be in touch with things in the world,” Bradford Matson, Bluefly chief marketing officer, tells Internet Retailer.

Matson says digital marketing agency UMarketing came up with the idea, which took just a few weeks to implement. The concept appealed to Bluefly because it reaches shoppers who love TV via mobile marketing, he says.

“Bluefly likes to do innovative work, and since we don’t have storefronts we have to exert ourselves in the world somehow. Television is a way to do that,” says Matson.

Bluefly, No. 163 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, uses ScanBuy’s bar code technology. Consumers with Apple Inc.’s iPhone can download the ScanLife mobile app to scan the codes, while the technology is built into smartphone that use the Android operating system.

The current QR promotion runs through November and then will be evaluated, Matson says. The ads air during Bravo shows “Top Chef,” “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Flipping Out” and “Top Chef Just Desserts.”

“Closet Confessions” is also featured on a social media site, BlueflyClosetConfessions.com, that Bluefly says has garnered 1 million page views since the retailer launched it in April.


Bluefly, Bradford Matson, Bravo, mobile advertising, Scanbuy Inc., smartphones, video