The integration of retail fashion with social media has certainly been one of the hottest marketing trends across the globe over the past few years. With consumers increasingly seeking a second opinion from friends or other like-minded individuals online instead of the opinion of in-store assistants, retailers have directed their attention to online activity surrounding their products. C&A’s Brazilian outlets have responded to this new environment by reinvigorating their brand using one of Facebook’s most recognized features, the ‘like’ button. This initiative, called the “Fashion Like” invites consumers to “like” outfits on Facebook and subsequently, these ‘likes’ are displayed digitally on the hangers in the stores in real time. This particular use of ‘likes’ demonstrates an innovative and unique way to engage customers. What’s better than an in-store popularity poll? Instant opinions from thousands of people can potentially sway a buying decision. C&A clearly intends to alleviate customer indecision and capture the online interactive opinion with this strategy.
Although this particular use of social media is unquestionably innovative, it may or may not guarantee an increase in sales. How long will it take before the novelty of the ‘social hanger’ wears off? C&A also must fine-tune the overall execution and must integrate this campaign with their store website to make it completely cohesive. Even though the increase in the number of likes could potentially increase the size of the individual shopping cart, would customers necessarily want to buy what everyone else is going to be buying too? Or would they instead want to pick a more exclusive item? Likewise, C&A may find it extremely challenging to sell the clothes that do not receive many likes on Facebook. Just 5-10 likes versus 500 may automatically make the customer question whether or not that item is fashionable enough for them.
Setting aside from some of the challenges that C&A may face in the course of making this a successful campaign, this strategy is definitely an innovative attempt to bring the virtual and real worlds closer together.