social-shopping

If the Facebook fits

Is online shopping about to go ‘social’? For years, people have been arguing that shopping online is a pretty solitary experience – one that’s lacking the social benefits that come with a trip to the high street.

But that’s beginning to change.

For around three years now, all the talk has been about the social web, social networks and the like. The figures for usage are nothing short of dramatic (750 million users on Facebook for example).

The opportunities for retailers are clear: attract users of social networking sites and huge new revenue streams could be yours.

One company that is taking on this challenge is the fast-growing Scottish fashion brand Lyle & Scott. It has just launched a social media store for its 40,000 Facebook fans. With help from online specialists BT Fresca it has created a site that means customers can shop without leaving their beloved application.

Offers, product information and links to purchase rub shoulders perfectly with the traditional Facebook openness that allows visitors to ask any question and get speedy answers from the Lyle & Scott team. The site gives a high visibility on Facebook and ensures that, for millions of fashion-loving users, the company is only ever a click away. For hard core L&S fans, it gives a unique and personal means of connecting to the company.

guest-blogger-mark-mcdonnell

Mark McDonnell, Retail sector, BT Global Services

And by being part of a social site, L&S allows its users to ‘like’, ‘share’ and comment on its offers and recommend products to their friends. Word of mouth is alive and well in the world of social media after all. It may sound risky to have such feedback visible to all, but L&S is finding that such that transparency builds brand loyalty rather than harming it.

The development followed BT Fresca’s redevelopment of the company’s website and mobile site, so it fits within a programme of reaching out to customers in whatever way that suits them, while taking maximum advantage of the features available on each platform.

If Oscar Wilde were around today, perhaps he would adapt his famous quote to: ‘The only thing worse than being talked about on Facebook, is NOT being talked about on Facebook.”

Building a reputation on the high street takes years. The new phase of building a reputation online has well and truly begun, with companies like Lyle and Scott taking the lead. Their progress will be closely watched by ‘fans’ and competitors alike.

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