Leveraging Social Tools for Tailored Online Shopping

0 min read

Francis Pilon

Over the last few months, the Jibe team has been increasingly focused on providing effective e-commerce solutions. As such, we have been paying attention to various sales and marketing strategies that are emerging in the e-commerce world to that are designed to increase customer engagement.

A few days ago, I came across the website of Australian-based retailer for women’s clothing, Black Milk Clothing via a Mashable article. I was pleasantly surprised by the way Black Milk has provided a fun and original avenue for collecting and displaying valuable user generated content.

The idea is simple and the execution is effective: a unique hashtag is associated with each of the products on their site. Customers who have purchased an item are encouraged send a picture of themselves wearing the item with the corresponding hashtag in a photo comment on Black Milk’s Facebook fan page or as a tag on an Instagram photo. These photos are subsequently posted on the corresponding product web page, creating an eclectic, colourful and inspiring mosaic.

As the Mashable article mentions, the obvious benefit for Black Milk is their ability to use content from customers for free promotional purposes as well as social media exposure.

However, Brian Honigman, author of the Mashable post, neglected to mention an important benefit for Black Milk’s customers, which is seeing each product on “real women” (as opposed to “unreal models”).

I think that many customers would value having the ability to view how a particular garment fits on different body types (check this out), thereby generating greater confidence and trust in the product/brand.

For a lot folks, the main barrier to purchasing fashion items online come with the difficulty in determining size, fit and quality prior to purchase. Seeing how a dress actually fits on someone who has a similar body type may make a decision about whether or not to purchase an item easier for online shoppers (admittedly, I do not have much faith in the future virtual fitting rooms).

It seems like adding this strategy should generate additional sales and foster greater brand fidelity while potentially lowering the costs and efforts associated with returned items.

Here's a free idea: how about letting the online shoppers pick the model that most resembles their body type?

On a less commerce-centric perspective, I see this as a fantastic way to break free from the focus on petite-fashion. Most people I know generally can’t relate to the ultra-thin ladies and buffed dudes whose body types are used most of the time in mainstream advertising.

Black Milk offers an organic and subtle way to break away from the expected and bring a welcome wind of freshness to the fashion world.