Posts tagged with "online shopping"

graph via Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Survey Reveals Customers Prefer In-Person Shopping

Beautyque NYC unveiled its consumer survey results assessing “Beauty Consumer Survey: Has the Pandemic Changed Beauty Retail Forever?”. Key results included concerns over safety in-store protocols with testers and sanitary issues, increases in online shopping, and a profound desire for in-store purchasing ability. To see full survey report, click HERE

“Over the past year, the pandemic has changed the way we do almost everything—including shopping for our favorite beauty products. We were interested to see how beauty consumers have adapted their shopping habits, and gauge their overall opinions and experiences when it comes to shopping online vs. shopping in physical stores,” explains Beautyque NYC Founder & Owner Sonia Khemiri. “We asked our community of beauty lovers to complete a survey, and we were able to extract some interesting key insights using the data submitted by 229 respondents.”

One of the most interesting takeaways of this survey was learning the beauty consumer’s feelings toward being able to physically see, feel, and test a product before deciding to purchase it. An overwhelming 80.4% of respondents indicated that being able to physically experience a product before buying is extremely important to them.

“Contrary to a lot of the buzz we’ve been hearing about how brick and mortar retail is dead, the consumers themselves are telling us otherwise,” says Sonia.

“The pandemic has caused me to enjoy shopping in a physical store more than before. I love being able to see, feel, smell and sample the products I purchase,” says survey respondent Jennifer G.

According to the Beautyque survey responses, the top 3 reasons why consumers like shopping for beauty products in physical stores include:

  1. Being able to see, feel, and try on products in person before buying
  2. Getting a product immediately rather than waiting for delivery
  3. Requesting a product sample to take home

However, concerns were expressed about sanitary efforts of retail stores. A significant amount of people indicated that they would only use product testers if they were sanitized before their use.

Just over 40% of survey respondents said that they will only be using product testers if they are fully sanitized immediately before use; 33.5% said they will avoid using testers altogether for the foreseeable future; and 24% said they will continue using product testers as they always have.

“I don’t feel very safe/clean touching using testers. I am okay with sealed products. I still do like going in person so I can see how big the product is, the actual colors and just the overall environment,” according to survey respondent Jenny N.

Beautyque also assessed whether the pandemic changed the shopping habits of beauty consumers? And if so, will this change in habits outlast the pandemic and continue indefinitely?

“We asked beauty shoppers how often they shopped for beauty products in physical stores before, during, and after the pandemic,” Sonia outlines.

Approximately 62% of respondents indicated that before the pandemic, they shopped in physical stores often or all the time; by no surprise, that number dropped to 12% during the pandemic; and now, after the pandemic, that number has crawled upward to 27%.

“These results show us that people are definitely not shopping for beauty products in physical stores as often as they did pre-pandemic—maybe because the pandemic isn’t fully over, maybe because they found that they enjoy shopping online more, or maybe a combination of many factors—but the reality stands that consumer shopping habits have changed for the long haul,” Sonia believes.

The Beautyque survey also inquired about beauty shoppers who online purchased before, during, and after the pandemic, to compare the results. Just over a third (34%) of respondents indicated that before the pandemic, they shopped for beauty products online often or all the time; that number jumped up to 53% during the pandemic; and has decreased just slightly to 46% after the pandemic.

According to survey results, the top 3 reasons consumers like shopping for beauty products online include: 

  1. Being able to shop from anywhere, at anytime
  2. Seeing product reviews and ratings
  3. Searching for brands/products quickly and easily

Survey respondents also indicated their favorite features that have improved the online shopping experience for beauty products.

  1. Personalized quizzes to find your perfect shade match, formula, etc.
  2. Ability to live chat with beauty specialists or brand representatives
  3. Virtual try-on technology

“I’ve grown to enjoy [shopping for beauty products online] much more. Being able to read reviews and engage with others online replaces the questioning that may occur in store,” survey respondent April P. says.

An interesting takeaway from the survey is that, although online shopping rose during the pandemic and although products bought online were more likely to be returned than those bought in-person, returns were still lower during the pandemic than before. Having said that, most people preferred to shop online than in physical stores, although the difference was slim. A significant amount of consumers also preferred to browse for products online, then buy them in-person, indicating a balance between the preferences.

“Many consumers feel there are elements of online shopping that retail shopping cannot compete with. The luxury of shopping from the comfort of their home, finding things through their keyboard and browsing other customers’ reviews — many consumers feel these affordances are more valuable than what in-person shopping allows,” Sonia says.

Beautyque NYC is a disruptive retail marketing platform conceived by US-based female entrepreneur and indie brand founder Sonia Khemiri. In addition to the first ever beauty 3D storefront, Beautyque NYC provides an in-depth and interactive marketing platform for its more than 25 brands and 10000 consumers.

In addition to taking its own polls with its beauty enthusiasts, Beautyque NYC also spearheads Brand Evaluation Programs for its brand members to provide them direct product feedback from a focus group testing process.

Survey respondents include 229 consumers, ages 18 and older provided insight to how and if their beauty shopping habits changed during the pandemic.

To learn more, click HERE.

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Online shopping illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digital Transformation: ByondXR

Digital Transformation: ByondXR Develops virtual commerce platform used by World-leading Retailers

Web-based Virtual eCommerce: Transforming the Future of Retail

The online shopping landscape is continuously changing, with companies finding new solutions to bring unique experiences to their customers. When the coronavirus pandemic shook the world, brands had to adapt to the virtual landscape, as in-store shopping became nearly impossible quickly. With the fear and apprehension that the pandemic created, naturally, people lost the motivation to shop in-person as much as they used to.

Companies that rely on physical shopping lost their customers and floundered, while companies that already had a significant digital presence increased their business. As businesses struggled to stay afloat, ByondXR, a company specializing in building online virtual storefronts and showrooms, was positioned to assist them in building their digital presence and offering new experiences for customers despite the pandemic.

Industry veterans Noam Levavi and Eran Galil founded ByondXR in 2016, intending to help businesses acclimate themselves to the growing virtual commerce market. Having as much familiarity and expertise with online retail merchandising as they did, after COVID-19 quarantining forced people to isolate themselves and remain in their homes, companies like Lancôme, Target, and P&G turned to ByondXR for their technical know-how.

Their innovative technology caters to wholesale and retail businesses who seek to improve their digital marketing presence. With their team of experts, they truly revolutionize the virtual commerce market by creating the most stunning visual web experiences that significantly improve conversion rates, engagement, and reduced return rates.

The virtual showrooms allow customers to browse through a store as if they were moving through a physical space. Customers can pan around, viewing colorful and appealing displays of items. By simply clicking on an item or display, an information box pops up where the customer can view more info about the product, interact with the product in 3D, or place the product in their physical space using ByondXR AR capabilities. To close the loop, users can click to purchase the products directly.

Using the full 3D store simulation that ByondXR creates for top fashion retailers, the Virtual Merchandising teams invite VM, store managers, and customers to take immersive virtual tours of their digital storefront. Visitors can view and interact with new clothing and merchandise hanging on racks and displayed on tables or mannequins by visualizing the store, its fixtures, and garments.

This kind of experiential retail provides customers with a far more interactive and engaging experience than simply scrolling mindlessly through pages and pages of products on Amazon or any other retail website. Customers can view items and read product descriptions on a company website as much as they like, but online shopping can rarely be as effective as shopping in a real, physical store. These virtual storefronts give customers the feeling of in-person shopping without leaving their homes and risk getting sick.

The broad range of clients that ByondXR has worked with have found that customers are looking for new shopping experiences, different from the ones that they are used to, especially when over-use of traditional digital shopping venues has rendered them mundane and unengaging. Virtual storefronts like those they have built for Lancôme and P&G are only the beginning of ByondXR’s technological revolution.

Take, for example, 3D visualizers that they have created for home decor companies like CaesarStone. In these online stores, customers can view a realistic 3D room like a kitchen or a child’s bedroom. With a click of a button, they can place down a crib or a wardrobe in this 360 environment, viewing the item in a digital space as if it were actually in their home and use AR to visualize the product in their own home. They can change the decorations and furniture’s colors and designs and pan around, viewing the items with the depth and authenticity that they would get from a physical store.

One of the most important parts of buying a piece of furniture is visualizing what it might look like in a customer’s own home, and with technology like this, customers won’t be left scratching their heads in the middle of a store. No more wondering what a product might look like when delivered to the customers’ houses with ByondXR storefronts, and they get what they see.

The public interest in digital shopping has only grown since its inception, and the global pandemic has only sped up the growth of virtual commerce. The boom in digital shopping has led to such revolutionary techniques as ByondXR’s virtual stores and showrooms seem to have ushered in the future of shopping, where people can browse items and walk-through stores without ever leaving their homes.

As the pandemic continues, both in the US and abroad, the apprehension that people feel about shopping in person has only increased. People don’t want to risk getting the virus and then spreading it to their friends and family, and so they have turned to online shopping in droves to fill their needs. Although the most important aspect of retail business is to provide customers with quality products, the aesthetics and the art of the way these products are displayed play a large role in what brands customers decide to shop with.

With this kind of technology becoming more and more popular with companies and with the customers that they serve, the question arises: Will shopping ever return to the way it was before?

The pandemic has certainly altered the world forever, but many have wondered if customers will return to physical stores once they can safely and healthily do so. With specialized technical advancements in the virtual commerce market like those that ByondXR provides their clients with, customers may decide that they don’t have to visit stores in person to get what they need.

In fact, home decor technology of the kind they built for Caesar Stone is often found more useful to customers than shopping for furniture, tiles, or decorations in person. Why go to a physical store if customers can get the same experience by shopping online from the comfort of their homes while losing none of the in-person stores’ appeals?

There is also another angle to it: while utilizing VR, retail brands can improve brand messaging, boost online influence, and create unique touching points with customers, something that regular eComment lacks.

No matter what the future holds for the virtual commerce market, ByondXR and their CEO Noam Levavi have positioned themselves at the forefront of digital shopping innovation, and they are ready to meet the next challenge head-on.

Valentine Image by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

15 Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas for Your Boutique

By Joseph Heller

Love is in the air, gals… Valentine’s Day is almost here! If you’re new to owning an online boutique and this is the first Valentine’s Day you’ll be celebrating as a small business owner, the approach of February 14th might have you mainly thinking about what you’ll get for your significant other and (maybe even more so) what he or she will get for you. Or maybe you typically spend Valentine’s Day with your best single gal pals, eating chocolate and exchanging gifts.

But Valentine’s Day isn’t all about love, romance, and cheesy cards. No matter how big or small your eCommerce business is, it can be a day that drives sales like no other – especially if you sell clothing, jewelry, or other gifts. In fact, it rivals only Christmas in consumer spending. If you play your cards right, the days surrounding Valentine’s Day could make up one of your best sales weeks of all time.

Of course, competing with major retailers isn’t easy, least of all on Valentine’s Day. Stores all over the country are spending thousands of dollars on Valentine’s marketing, trying to get people to buy their gifts from them. Sure, you could have an incredible selection of Valentine’s gifts and accessories, available for great prices – but if nobody knows about your shop, it won’t do you any good in the end.

If you’re going to drive both new and existing customers to your shop for their Valentine’s shopping, you’ve got to get creative about your Valentine’s Day marketing. Read on to learn 15 affordable Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for your boutique – and why you really should care to do something special for this holiday in the first place.

Valentine’s Day and eCommerce

The numbers are clear – Americans spend a whole lot of dough on Valentine’s Day. The average American celebrating Valentine’s Day spent $196.31 on Valentine’s Day in 2020, adding up to a total of $27.4 billion spent on the holiday in 2020. Trends show that number only heading upwards – 2020 spending was up 32% from 2019.

Of course, that’s just the big picture – and not all of that money is being spent in boutiques like yours. Here are a few other stats you should be aware of that paint the picture of consumer spending on Valentine’s Day, based on 2020 numbers:

  • 32% buy Valentine’s Day gifts from discount stores.
  • Men spend nearly three times as much as women on Valentine’s Day.
  • $5.8B was spent on Valentine’s Day jewelry
  • $4.3B was spent on a Valentine’s Day night out
  • $2.4B was spent on Valentine’s Day chocolate
  • $2.3B was spent on flowers
  • $2B was spent on Valentine’s Day gift cards
  • $1.3B was spent on Valentine’s Day greeting cards
  • 45% of adults didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day
  • 15% of Americans buy themselves a present on Valentine’s Day
  • Americans spend an average of $12.21 on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets

With all of that shopping and spending going on during the Valentine’s Day season, you’ll want to make sure your business ends up with even a small sliver of that massive pie. Running holiday-themed campaigns and upping your marketing efforts leading up to Valentine’s Day will help you keep your boutique fresh in people’s minds and increase the chances that they go straight to you once it’s time to shop for their Valentine’s Day gifts.

15 Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Don’t have a huge marketing budget? No problem – with time, effort, and the right direction, you can still get your boutique’s awesome Valentine’s Day gifts and products in front of the right people. Here are 15 Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for small businesses that you can implement for little or no money.

  1. Send a themed email marketing campaign

Instead of generic email newsletters or sale messages, send a themed Valentine’s Day email that’s all about love, friendship, and gift-giving. Drive your audience to your website with gift suggestions and fun Valentine’s-themed wordplay. (You know… “love is in the air,” “we will always love you,” “gifts with heart,” etc!) For more tips on how to use email marketing to grow your boutique, click here.

  1. Host a contest

Embrace the holiday and host a fun couples contest or giveaway on your boutique’s social media page. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Have participants recreate a photo, do a challenge, coordinate an outfit together using a piece from your shop – whatever sounds like a good time. Then, have your audience vote for their favorite entrant on Valentine’s Day. (No need to exclude single people from this one – you could welcome entries from couples, BFFs, family members, etc.)

  1. Run “couples” deals

How do you make a BOGO deal more festive? Call it a couples deal, or a two for one deal! Choose a selection of Valentine’s Day items that you’ll put on sale, whether it’s chocolates, earrings, or pink scrunchies. Encourage them to gift the extra item to their significant other, give one to their BFF for Galentine’s Day, or just keep it for themselves as a token of your love for them!

  1. Partner with another small business

Community over competition, right ladies? Partner with a local business and share the love. It could be another online boutique or a local business that doesn’t directly compete with yours but has a similar clientele, like a florist or a nail salon. Offer a combined Valentine’s Day gift package of your products/services and theirs. This is an especially great idea if you have a strong local presence (or if you’re interested in making it stronger!)

  1. Celebrate Galentine’s Day

Don’t sleep on Galentine’s Day! Coined by Leslie Knope from the TV show Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day is a day reserved for celebrating female friendships. It takes place the day before Valentine’s Day, February 13th. To celebrate, bundle a few of your most popular items offer curated gift packages that’d be perfect to gift to a best friend. You could also offer a discount when they multiple of the same item to gift to their friends.

  1. Have a V-Day themed photoshoot

Create some fun Valentine’s Day photos to post on your social media accounts leading up to the big day. You could take photos of couples wearing your clothing, flat lays of all of the red and pink items you carry, or outfit inspo photos against a red or a pink backdrop.

  1. Create a Valentine’s Day gift guide

You and I both know how hard it can be to shop for people – especially your significant other. Make the whole V-day shopping experience a little less stressful by putting together a list of gift ideas and sharing it on your company blog.

No need to have every single item come from just your shop – in fact, it might be more helpful and comprehensive if you scour other local or small boutiques as well and feature their products in your guide. (It’s a great way to open the door to new networking relationships, too!) If you’re feeling up to it, you could create multiple gift guides with different people in mind – for her, for him, for mom, for Galentine’s Day, for your pet, etc.

  1. Send a card

Everyone loves getting mail! Send your past and present customers a real-life Valentine via snail mail. No need to be salesy – the point of this is to show your customers how much you appreciate them and that you’re even thinking about them on the day dedicated to love. Include a coupon to be used in-store or a unique promo code to thank them for showing you and your store love throughout the years.

  1. Share the love

Turn your social media into even more of a community. Invite your audience to share their love stories with you, whether through DMs or by using a certain hashtag in their posts. You can make this as sappy or spicy as you want to – feel free to mix things up a bit by also asking people to send you their worst or funniest dating stories as well! Once you’ve compiled submissions, feature your favorites in your stories. It’ll keep the rest of your audience engaged and help participants feel even more involved in your brand.

  1. Show the love locally

Valentine’s Day is all about sharing the love. What better way to do that than by giving back to the people who need it most? Celebrate Valentine’s Day by hosting a service project, donating products from your store to a local organization, or pledging to donate a certain percentage of your profits in the weeks surrounding Valentine’s Day.

Make sure to advertise this throughout your social channels and your website so your customers know how much good their purchases are doing. Not only will you be able to make a real difference in your community, but you’ll also be able to involve your customers in your charity work.

  1. Highlight date night outfits

People don’t just spend money on gifts during the Valentine’s Day season. They also spend money on themselves, buying clothing, lingerie, date night jewelry, and more. Put together a few fabulous Valentine’s Day outfits using products from your boutique and share a few outfit inspo photos on social media. Be sure to group those products together on your website so your customers can easily purchase everything they need to recreate the outfit.

  1. Don’t alienate single people

For people who aren’t currently in a relationship, Valentine’s Day feels a whole lot more like Singles Awareness Day. Why not go out of your way to show them a little love, too? Don’t leave single people out of all the Valentine’s Day fun – consider running some sort of promo just for them. Run a sale on self-care items that make treat yo’ self gifts, like bath bombs, jade rollers, and (of course) chocolate. You could do this in conjunction with your regular Valentine’s Day promotions or the week before.

  1. Be clear about shipping deadlines

Some people plan ahead of every holiday and finish their gift-shopping weeks in advance – but most people tend to be last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers. Of course, placing a last-minute order from your online boutique on February 13th probably isn’t going to work out for them. Add a banner to your site reminding shoppers of the Valentine’s Day delivery deadline. Be clear and realistic about shipping cutoffs to receive items by Valentine’s Day. Encourage people to buy early, especially with COVID-related shipping delays making package deliveries even more unreliable than usual.

  1. Make a Valentine’s Day video

When it comes to commanding your audience’s attention, video is one of the very most effective marketing tools out there. Rather than just snapping a few photos of your new Valentine’s Day products, create a video showcasing your favorite Valentine’s Day outfits or gift ideas. You could create a short-form vertical video using IG reels or TikTok, or share a longer informative video on YouTube, Facebook, or IGTV.

  1. Host a Giveaway

Spread the love with an exciting giveaway. Partner with other small businesses in your community or your niche to give something away. It could be a romantic couple’s getaway with flowers, a hotel stay, and a new outfit, a date-night-in package with a dress, a romantic candle, chocolates, and a voucher for fancy takeout, or an epic Valentine’s Day shopping spree. Just make sure it’s somewhat Valentine’s Day related, whether with what you’re giving away, how you enter, or even just with the images and language you use to introduce it.

While implementing these Valentine’s Day marketing ideas might take some serious thought and strategizing, with a little effort they can pay off in a big way.

Now that you have a few great ideas on how you can encourage your customers to shop with you this Valentine’s Day, make sure you’ll have enough Valentine’s Day gifts and outfit ideas in stock ahead of time. Click here for 15 wholesale boutique items you’ll want to stock up on for Valentine’s Day.

Indoor plant story illustration by Gabrielle Archuleta for 360 MAGAZINE

How to Pick The Right Emotional Support House Plant

By Dana Feeney

Why should you get plants?

Lockdown has taken its toll on us all, especially on those living in cities restricted to their apartments. Since many people haven’t had access to nature since the Coronavirus pandemic started last March, many have turned to house plants to satisfy that need. Owning house plants has many benefits, including purifying air, improving the vibe of environments by adding life, and giving people something to take care of in their free time.

Plants are a delicate and bright way to help decorate your space and being around plants has a positive effect on people’s mood, productivity, and creativity.Taking care of plants is a therapeutic and rewarding way to put time and energy into your own space, even when you aren’t feeling your best. Studies have shown that talking or singing to your house plants increases their growth rate because of the increased CO2, or maybe because they just like your company.

What kind of plant is right for you?

All plants need light, water, and somewhere to grow. Some plants are less work to take care of than others because they are less picky about their environments. Taking care of some plants is as simple as giving them water when their soil is dry, but some have more specific needs like what type of lighting they prefer or if they grow more after getting cut back. Some plants have different functions, like those that serve as decorations or herbs that you can use to cook or make cocktails.

If you struggle with remembering to water your plants but like to have greenery in your space, snake plants or aloe may be for you. Both aloe and snake plants come in many color variations and function as beautiful decorations. They are happy living in a pot on a windowsill or balcony with bright indirect light or in rooms with lower light. These plants are drought resistant; they only need to be watered every 2-4 weeks, depending on how much light they get. They’ll be just fine until you remember to water them. Although, for the truly forgetful, it may be a good idea to set a two-week recurring event in your phone calendar to remind you to give your plants some love.

If you can keep up with weekly watering and want to grow your collection, then pothos or zz plants may be a good choice for you. Pothos, zz plants, aloe, and snake plants are air purifiers that remove pollutants such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and xylene from the air. They are slightly different: zz plants are plants that sprout bright green leaves upwards, while pothos are trailing plants that grow vines that hang down over the sides of their planter. They both need water every 7-14 days, depending on light conditions. These plants tend to grow faster in brighter conditions, but they can live in lower light. The most important thing to remember about pothos and zz plants is that they are toxic to cats, dogs, and people. To avoid accidental consumption, it is best to place them out of reach of pets and children.

Both of these are great plants for propagation. Propagating your plants gives you more plants without having to pay for them. With pothos, you can cut a vine at a node with at least one leaf and put it in water. Glass bottles, like kombucha or wine bottles, are great vessels to use for propagation. Fill the bottle with water and add your cutting with the node in the water. Once there are about two inches of root growth, transfer it to a new pot or back to the original to create a full curtain of pothos. Zz plants tend to do better with propagation by division. You can do this by removing the plant from its pot, dividing the plant in half or more depending on its size, and then repotting the resulting plants. This method allows the new plants plenty of room to grow.

If you can keep up with regular watering and like to cook, an herb garden may be a great fit for you. Basil, mint, sage, and rosemary are all versatile herbs that grow well indoors. Rosemary is the easiest to manage, only needing water every 1-2 weeks. Basil, mint, and sage need more attention because they require water every 2-3 days; their leaves wilt when they need water. You have to harvest these plants semi regularly to prevent them from flowering. It’s easy to keep up with if you are using them occasionally in the kitchen. You can plant rosemary, basil, and sage in one large planter, but it’s best to keep mint in its own pot because it tends to smother other plants.

Where can you go to get plants?

All of the plants mentioned above are common and generally easy to find regardless of where you live. Local plant nurseries are a reliable option when buying plants or supplies like potting soil or planters. Some grocery stores, like Trader Joe’s, tend to sell house plants and herbs. The Sill, Bloomscape, Horti, and Home Depot all have online options for ordering plants to your house. The Sill, Bloomscape, and Horti also have subscription services that will deliver new plants to your home already potted and ready to go.

Wherever you buy your plants from, it’s always good to remove them from the container they come in and repot them. You should repot them to check that your new plant’s roots are healthy and not rotted or root-bound. You can either put them back into the original container or a new container. Planters are also a fun way to decorate your space. For more information on how to take care of your plants, The Sill, Bloomscape, and Horti have portions of their sites dedicated to plant care and advice and, in a pinch, you can always google specific questions.

If you are just getting into owning plants or are just looking to shake up your collection make sure to do your research when buying plants. The easiest way to get plants that will thrive is match their needs with care you can reliably provide for them. Remember sometimes plants die, it’s an unavoidable truth of owning a living thing. If a plant of yours dies, try to understand what may have gone wrong and try to not repeat the mistake in the future. Life is about living and learning so just do your best.

Aloe Plant photographed by Dana Feeney

Zz Plant photographed by Vaughn Lowery

Pothos Plant photographed by Dana Feeney

Cotton Style House – Holiday Edition

Warm weather is just about out, and cold weather is on its way in, so stir up some hot chocolate and grab a warm blanket and your favorite movie because Cotton Incorporated is here to help.

Cotton Incorporated announced the launch of its limited-time holiday shop Monday. It is called Cotton Style House – Holiday Edition and is available exclusively on Amazon.

From now until the end of the calendar year, a variety of cotton apparel, gifting and home items are available, all curated by world-renowned celebrity stylist Irma Martínez.

Using virtual programming and a goal to connect all communities and cultures, the collection aims to bring people together at a time during which togetherness has come in short supply.

You can see actress Debby Ryan and influencer Daniela Ramirez and her husband in their favorite styles by clicking right here. You can also see the entire collection and find the right pieces for your taste.

Marissa Barlin, director of brand partnerships for Cotton Incorporated, said The Cotton Style House is celebrating the holiday season with chic, cotton-rich styles to provide both comfort and joy.

“The collections speak to how consumers anticipate celebrating the season with a focus on personal panache or creating a cozy home,” Barlin said.

With brands like Mara Hoffman, Levi’s, Calvin Klein and STAUD, the collection shows the versatility and comfort of cotton.

Ryan Clark, Gregory Dava, Coco Bassey and Jill Wallace also joined to show off their favorite cotton styles and trendy designs that they’ll be sporting this holiday season.

Each creator worked alongside Cotton Incorporated and Irma Martínez to create unique looks that represent their styles and personalities, and now they’re offering everybody a chance to join in the fun.

To shop the whole collection, you can click right here.

You can also follow Debby Ryan, Jill Wallace, Ryan Clark, Patrick Van Negri, Daniela Ramirez and Gregory Dava on Instagram.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

Annual (RED) Shopathon Lights Up Today

The sixth annual (RED) Shopathon lights up today ahead of World AIDS Day and Giving Tuesday, December 1st. Offering more than 200 stylish and giftable products that give back with every purchase, the campaign is supported by Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada) and will see (RED) generate money for the Global Fund to fight two pandemics: AIDS and COVID-19.

THE ALL-NEW (echo)RED AND OVER 170+ (RED) PRODUCTS ON AMAZON.COM/RED:

For the fourth year, (RED) is partnering with Amazon to give customers a single destination to shop more than 170 products that give back, spanning tech, health & wellness, kitchen & home, and more.

New for 2020 is the next-generation, limited-edition (echo)RED, featuring an all-new sleek spherical design, premium sound, and smart home hub support for Zigbee, Bluetooth Low Energy, and Amazon Sidewalk. Amazon will donate $10 of every (echo)RED sale to the Fund for the Global Fund to support COVID-19 response and HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

Customers can also donate to (RED)’s fight against these two pandemics on any Alexa-enabled device by simply saying, “Alexa, donate to (RED).” With all products available at amazon.com/red, shoppers can put impact into every purchase. The limited-edition (echo)RED is available starting today for only $99.99 (amazon.com/echored).

(RED) LAUNCHES ITS FIRST-EVER VIRTUAL POP-UP SHOP ON SNAPCHAT:

(RED) is launching its first-ever immersive pop-up shop on Snapchat. Using Snapchat’s AR technology, users can now browse and buy Amazon.com/RED products directly from their mobile app, and support (RED)’s fight against AIDS and COVID-19. The lens, supported by Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada), is live worldwide today and accessible throughout the duration of the campaign. Snap, shop, and save lives by going to this link.

Computer Scams illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

5 Tips for Safe Online Holiday Shopping

By Stephanie Benoit-Kurtz, faculty chair for cybersecurity programs at University of Phoenix

Black Friday might look a little different this holiday season as companies opt to close their doors to shoppers and instead offer virtual options to help stop the spread of coronavirus. While doing so may help prevent illness, it puts consumers at greater risk for another threat ― cybercrime.

This time of year has always been the busiest for online shopping, which has grown exponentially during the past decade. And that was before this year’s coronavirus outbreak caused e-commerce sales to rocket further.1 It all adds up to malicious online criminals having many more opportunities to steal valuable personal information.

Online shopping, although convenient, can be problematic if appropriate security measures aren’t implemented. Identity theft, credit card fraud and malware are among the many safety threats consumers face.

It’s important to take steps to protect your personal information while shopping online this holiday season — and throughout the year. These safety measures can help protect your identity and prevent credit card theft.

  1. Ensure the company is PCI compliant

Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is directed by credit card companies to protect consumers. It mandates that a variety of standards be upheld to ensure secure credit card transactions. All organizations that accept credit cards must uphold the required standard.

If an organization is not PCI compliant, personally identifiable information is potentially at risk, either through a third-party seller or through the consumer’s computer or device because the end-point security necessary to shield the transaction is absent or inadequate.

If an error appears when you go to a business’s website indicating their PCI certificate is not secure or is expired, you should not conduct a transaction there. If you do, your personal information is at risk.

  1. Look for the lock

It is important that companies ensure the data you provide when making a purchase is encrypted. To determine whether an organization is using encryption, look for the lock symbol in the browser. This symbol indicates the website uses SSL, a data-transfer security standard that encrypts your data and ensures the server in use is authentic and secure.

Companies can go one step further with tokenization, which means they do not store, manage, maintain or transmit any credit card numbers in their completion anywhere. To determine a company’s security, look for this information published on their website. It should show what they are doing to secure their customers’ information from vulnerabilities related to personal identifiable data privacy.

  1. Firewall application software and active

Consider installing a firewall software application on your computer. If you already have the software, make sure it is turned on. While firewalls are generally used to prevent malicious cyberattacks coming from the outside, you should look for software that can protect your data in both directions — both incoming and outgoing data — to make sure the private information you provide when you make a purchase is secure.

  1. Antivirus or next-generation AI behavior-based antivirus

Antivirus software will help alert you if your network is victim of a malware attack. There are now more sophisticated next-generation apps that use artificial intelligence (AI) to learn about your consumer habits to better identify fraud. Consider installing AI behavior-based antivirus software before you start your holiday shopping online for an added layer of protection.

  1. Research the business

If you are purchasing from an online store that is new to you, be sure to do your due diligence before clicking “buy now.” Check for complaints made to the Better Business Bureau. Look at online reviews, checking specifically to see if there are challenges concerning refunds or processing cards. Visa and Mastercard have publicly available registries listing service providers that comply with rules and industry security standards.

Once you complete your transaction, it’s possible you will have no idea whether your online purchase has put your sensitive data at risk. It could be years before you know you’ve been a victim of cybercriminals. With the rise in online purchases and the biggest shopping season of the year nearing, it is a good time to do as much as you can to protect yourself.

About the Author

Stephanie Benoit-Kurtz is lead area faculty chair for cybersecurity programs at University of Phoenix Las Vegas Campus and director of cybersecurity at Stations Casinos in Las Vegas.

American Cancer Society charity digital pop up for MCM illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 MAGAZINE

MCM x ACS

By Armon Hayes

On Wednesday, October 14 MCM and style architect Misa Hylton will go LIVE promptly at 10:55am from Soho for an exclusive virtual shopping event. An RSVP only experience for their partnership with the American Cancer Society; together they fight relentlessly for a world free of Cancer. This year, I was welcomed to support the first-ever virtual shopping event, hosted by iconic stylist and MCM’s Global Creative Partner, Misa Hylton. With intense purpose, she inspires us by remixing her vision with functionality. Provided with live updates leading up to the event via text, coupled with the means to interact and shop look-book in a touchless society.

How it works: 

Request desired favorites with SKU and await an invoice by email to complete transaction. 20% of proceeds from sales of this event will be donated to support the ACS. The 30-minute live event will feature MCM’s Fall 2020 pink assortment. At 11am the full assortment preview will begin, followed by a Q&A from Hylton. Qualifying orders will additionally receive a gift. Misa will style six looks on-model and show different ways you can wear these must-have pieces. With the goal being to shop to one’s content, if you ever needed a reason to shop until you drop, this event would be it. No trick, but certainly a treat for a cause we all know and are too familiar with. For those survivors and current fighters, their families and community warriors stand proudly with them through the fight despite at times feeling hopeless. This month in particular creates a driving force within me. Currently, I am approaching the five year anniversary of Liam Maurice Fields; my cousin who transitioned during his fight with leukemia. Only a child and here for a short time, it’s often the smallest things that are the most impactful. 

MCM and the American Cancer Society are providing an opportunity to join the fight against cancer. Funds raised through the 2020 campaign will assist cancer patients in a variety of ways, including:

Education: The American Cancer Society educates the public, providers, community members and employers regarding cancer screening guidelines.

Advocacy: The American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM, the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, advocates on behalf of cancer patients at local, state and federal levels (including access to no-cost COVID-19 testing for insured and uninsured individuals).

Research: The American Cancer Society has dedicated over $4.9 billion dollars toward cancer research since 1946.

Service: The American Cancer Society provides cancer information and support through its 24/7 helpline at 1-800-227-2345 and online at cancer.org.

MCM is proud to participate this year with innovative concepts in these times. Last October, MCM’s pink product campaign raised over $20,000. The American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. The coronavirus pandemic has brought challenges for cancer patients worldwide, but cancer hasn’t stopped and neither has the American Cancer Society. Together, both organizations are committed to moving us closer to a world without cancer and appreciate the support from supporters, clients and friends. 

About The Host: 

Misa Hylton’s global influence can’t be overstated; she reaches +3.1 billion people worldwide through her relationships and collaborations with networks and publications, celebrities and brands. She has the admiration and ear of today’s biggest household names in music, entertainment and popular culture. She continues to revolutionize fashion at various levels – collaborating with luxury fashion house MCM as Global Creative Partner, styling private celebrity clients, featuring as a commentary subject in two documentaries on music epochs, leading a new generation of creatives at her Misa Hylton Fashion Academy and instructing professional studies courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Misa continues to transcend categories by constantly redefining modern style.

Pillow Pops by Shani Moran

By Cassandra Yany

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept many of us confined to our houses or apartments, causing home improvements and redecorating to become a popular quarantine activity. Whether you’re reimagining a bedroom, living room or lounge space, throw pillows are a household essential.

The Pillow Pops by Shani Moran make a space cozy while introducing a sophisticated look. The curated collections from the Beverly Hills-based company make it easy for anyone to effortlessly redecorate their space. There are five pillows in each set that follow the same color scheme. Pillows are available in a variety of fabrics and shades to cater to everyone’s personal space and style. Each collection contains multiple textures and patterns. The pillows can be bought together or individually, as well as with or without trim based on your preference.

These pillow collections can enhance a room and serve as statement pieces, or can be understated to provide an extra bit of color and comfort. A hidden zip enclosure allows the pillow covers to be swapped for specific occasions or seasons, creating an affordable and versatile design. The pillows arrive in a luxurious box for a lavish experience while staying safe and shopping from home. The online store even has an interactive feature where you can customize the color of the sofa on which the pillows are displayed to see how they will appear in your home. 

According to the Pillow Pops website, the brand is committed to using ecological and hypoallergenic textiles. They are dedicated to fighting against child labor and human exploitation, and donate ten percent of their profits to dismpowered communities across the globe.