With the increase in smartphone ownership, social media is beginning to play a greater role in e-commerce. In 2013, social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest together accounted for 75 percent of social generated e-commerce sales, according to a BI Intelligence study. The study also found that 39% of Facebook users follow brands to research products while 74 percent of consumers rely on social media to guide their purchases.
Several online fashion retailers are now using social media to create unique campaigns that drive better user engagement, by directing followers to their websites and hence increasing sales. Such is the potential of this discovery-led shopping that, few of these brands have even brought social media into their offline stores. Meanwhile here are five of our favorite fashion brands making the right use of social media:
1. Shop Instagram Feature – Keep.com:
Targeting women in their 20s and 30s, Keep.com focused on Instagram and developed a list of more than 100 Instagram’s most fashionable women – from actresses and musicians to models and artists. President of Keep.com, MaryAnn Bekkedahl, felt Instagram is where all the fashionable and sexy women spend their time, based on the popularity of Instagram amongst fashion bloggers and their online engagement during live-fashion events.
Keep.com employees filter through their Instagram 100 most fashionable list, identify anything from hand bags, makeup and jewelry to shoes, tops and bikinis and give customers a direct link to website where they can buy them. This is just one element of Keep.com’s site, however, it is a great example of how online fashion retailers can directly use social media as a point-of-sale.
2. Offer ‘Members-only’ Prices on Social Media – Rue La La:
Rue LA LA is a member’s only online fashion retailer offering “Desired brands. Members only prices.” The exclusivity intrigues many women allowing Rue La La to entice consumers to their brand through exclusive social media campaigns. The online fashion retailer created the Mom’s of Style campaign on Pinterest asking users to create a board about their mom’s style and the top three were featured on Rue La La’s official Mother’s Day boutique.
With more than 489,000 fans on Facebook and 20,000 followers on Pinterest, Rue La La uses its social media channels to offer exclusive offers to its community of users making non-members vie to become a part of Rue La La.
3. Leverage social media sharing – Burberry:
Burberry’s first major digital campaign launched in 2009 titled, Art of the Trench. In this campaign the iconic British luxury brand invited trench coat aficionados to post images to Burberry’s Facebook page. Burberry used its partnerships with major fashion bloggers to leverage this campaign and encourage people to vote and comment on each look. This specific campaign pushed Burberry’s Facebook page over the million fan mark in 2009 and now the fashion retailer has more than 16 million fans on Facebook.
Burberry continued pursuing digital marketing efforts and has become a leader in the category – ranking No. 1 in 2011 and 2012 in LuxuryLab’s Digital IQ Index for Fashion, and classified in the Genius category along with Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Gucci, Coach and Louis Vuitton.
4. Create the right social channel mix – Kate Spade:
Kate Spade does a wonderful job of carrying its brand character across all social media accounts. The featured photography and designs always express the brand’s colorful, witty and happy demeanor. They also utilize a variety of social media networks to give customers an omni-directional look into the brand.
The company has defined specific use cases for each of their social media channel, such as using Facebook to build brand awareness and maintain relationship with customers, Twitter to drive engagement and create trends in the form of hashtags like #LiveColorfully and #ThingsWeLove. Kate Spade uses Instagram to give followers a peek into their headquarters and channels such as YouTube, Tumblr and Flickr to promote visual content, photos, etc.
5. Make customer the Star – Free People:
The bohemian lifestyle brand Free People promotes engagement by encouraging customers to upload images of themselves wearing Free People apparel.
On Instagram and Twitter, the brand created product-specific hashtags asking users to tag pictures with them. With every shipment of Free People apparel, the customer receives a card with the hashtag information on how to share the style and be featured in Free People website.
While social media’s impact on e-commerce revenue is still nascent, investing time in building your audience is essential, especially, in the fashion sector where people love getting opinions from friends and family before making a purchase. A report by Business Insider states that 42% of US consumers value recommendation from friends and family, where social media has a huge role.
Here is a starter guide for fashion brands on how to use various social media channels: