Fashion E-Commerce | How are you engaging in an online dialogue?

LONDON, United Kingdom —  In our next snippet from the E-Commerce Day talk at the 9 Festival for Fashion & Photography, we discuss the how online fashion retailers including Sarah Curran, CEO of my-wardrobe.com, José Neves, CEO of farfetch.com and Stephanie Phair, Director of theoutnet.com, are engaging with their fans through blogs, Twitter, Facebook and daily feedback updates to get to know their customers’ needs, wants and opinions.

Just today, Women’s Wear Daily posted a front-page article on how the fashion industry is coming to terms with social media, indicating that these tools have finally hit the radar screens of the industry at large. This is great news, possibly catalysed by the fact that marketing and advertising budgets have been slashed so fashion brands and retailers are looking for cost-effective (read: free) ways of getting the word out. Social media has hit the fashion mainstream, and from our discussion it was clear that our panelists are at the cutting edge.

How are you engaging in an online dialogue? Stephanie Phair said theOutnet.com is always listening, carefully monitoring feedback, blogs and posts about the brand new off-price site for Net-a-Porter, Sarah Curran has hired a full-time my-wardrobe.com resource to engage with bloggers and José Neves speaks of respecting bloggers and giving them the information they want about farfetch.com.

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5 comments

  1. It would be interesting to see, what the relationship is between having 800/1000 facebook fans and to fluctuations in sales? I’m not entirely sure these social networking tools have such a large impact directly on sales.

    moi from Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  2. Hello Imran

    I am currently working on launching my website for my label Mutiboko Women’s Wear . Whilst over the last couple of weeks I have noticed that more and more brands are discussing the significance of using the social networks to engage with the consumer I am left with the feeling that I definitely want to explore this marketing method for my brand but don’t quite know how to go about it….For example how do I set up my Facebook page so that it looks like a professional brand page ? How do I use Twitter & Facebook so that they are complimenting one another ? Are there any seminars that you know of that cover this or is there someone that you could suggest I speak with ? I look forward to hearing from you…

    Many thanks
    Caroline Mutiboko
    Creative Director

  3. True, social media can create the buzz it needs to bring attention to certain brands, but I’m also wondering how effective of a marketing tactic that is. What’s the conversion rate from click to sales?

    Also, we must be careful of advertising agencies who create blogs under the pretense of being a fellow fashion “blogger” promoting certain products when in fact the blog was created and maintained by the agency itself, not an independent fashion blogger. Even real bloggers can get into the mix without knowledge by being solicited (in other words, bribed) in getting freebies from brands who would like to get a buzz on their product without merit.

    I think in order to convince people to buy is to inform them of a product. I’m not talking about fluffed up marketing baloney of a “must-have” for summer, but I’m talking about real information like: will not wrinkle, doesn’t shrink, will not stain, has running threads, has loose buttons, etc. I’ve seen a Balmain jacket at Selfridges in shambles with buttons falling off and threads everywhere…and this jacket is supposed to retail at $12,000? Shoppers deserve to be informed of these things.

    Dahlia from Montreal, QC, Canada
  4. Thanks to all of you for your comments!

    @moi and @Dahlia: It’s true that making a direct link between social media and sales is not easy. That being said, when certain influential bloggers or influencers independently feature a brand or product on their sites, these products often sell-out, showing that engaging trusted independent voices can indeed have an impact on the bottom line. This, it must be said, is a lot cheaper and a lot easier to track than a full-page advertisement in Vogue or Harpers, which is almost impossible to link to sales.

    But we must remember, social media isn’t only about clicks and sales, it is also about engagement. Social media offers a new way for brands to engage their most loyal fans in dialogue, to get feedback, input and opinions. Not only does this feedback enable a brand or e-tailer who listens to their clients to make palpable changes, it also creates a more meaningful relationship between brand and consumer. This too is a lot more than one might expect from a static webpage with no interactivity or a conventional magazine advertisement.

    @Caroline: Apologies! I have no seminar or structured place to send you for this. The truth is, people are just coming to terms with these tools so new ideas and approaches are emerging all the time. Best advice? Come back to BoF often as we will regularly be discussing Fashion 2.0, hoping to stay ahead of the curve.

    Imran Amed, Editor from London, London, United Kingdom (post author)