Everyone's Doing It: Brands Take on Social Media

For fashion companies, 2009 is turning out to be the year of social media.

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Juicy and Wet Seal have added social networks built around Polyvore-style outfit-creation games to their sites. The results have been impressive. At Wet Seal, conversion rates double when a shopper visits the community, and 25 percent of buyers visit, said Wet Seal chief information officer Jon Kubo.

Juicy has more than 50,000 members in Club Couture. Those who visit increase page views 141 percent a visit, spend 150 percent more time on the site and buy 162 percent more often.

“The customers are talking to each other — you have to do very little work,” said Juicy Couture vice president of global marketing Frances Pennington.

“Social media is another way to take our advertising 360 degrees,” said Pennington. “We still believe in print media, and our fall campaign shows that. We have multiple page insets in many of the big books. We’ve taken to also showing it on our Web site. It expands our advertising, it doesn’t replace it. It’s just another platform.”

In June, St. John added a full-fledged social networking community similar to Facebook to its revamped online store. The company has not yet discussed publicly how it has been received.

As social media becomes pervasive, it is making it possible for anyone to share, collaborate with others and develop an audience or market online.

“Palo Alto isn’t the fashion capital of the world, and it shows you the power of what you can do on the Internet,” said Farhner of Moxie. “Blogs are coming from all over. You’d think they were from Manhattan with the confidence they talk about fashion. Because everything’s moving to the Internet, we’ve been embraced by boutique shoppers. Historically, this is a category that wouldn’t have worked online. You have to look at it as a changing landscape. Five years ago, two sisters in Atlanta wouldn’t have a blog that 150 people comment on. These are all new things,” he said.


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