Social media and Value production

According to a recent report from comScore, consumers spent more than $9 billion during the week following Thanksgiving in 2014, often referred to as Cyber Week. This represented an increase of more than 14 percent from the nearly $8 billion spent during the same period the previous year. E-commerce is certainly on the rise. It is now incumbent upon companies to ensure they are tapping into that trend in order to stay ahead of the competition. Moving into 2015, it will become increasingly important for brands to ensure they are utilizing social media in order to succeed with e-commerce.

Yet, many brands often continue to make the same mistakes when it comes to integrating social media with e-commerce. Among the most common mistakes that many companies make is thinking that a presence on a social media platform, such as Facebook or Twitter, is enough to attract customers. It must always be kept in mind that socializing is the primary reason that most people choose to participate in social media networks. Shopping is secondary. The best way to take advantage of social media is to deploy it for enhancing the customer’s shopping experience rather than vice versa.

I think e-commerce is an important tool for new brands such as that started by Faustine and her partner Michael, as it allows for a greater reach to customers, while keeping markup and brick and mortar costs low. Social media then becomes an important tool for generating buzz around the product, especially in their case. The product they produce is unique because of the intense and detailed craftsmanship it takes to produce, elements which are important for the customer to be aware of in order to appropriately value the garments, but difficult to teach them without the extensive information display. Without Faustine being in every store at every sale to explain the hours and artisanal quality of each and every piece, much of that is lost in the sale. Though I do agree that for products as pricey as theirs, the customer would need to establish a trust in the brand and as such want to touch it, try it on, but with their margins, this need reduces the profit they receive back from each sale, and ultimately reduces their production efficiency.

One response to “Social media and Value production

  1. Kenny, I really appreciate your thoughtful take on Faustine Steinmetz’s position on social media, and in relation to e-commerce. You raise valid points about the prices, which can be difficult for the consumer to rationalize, if they approach their product through the perspective of denim. Additonally, the unique selling point of their brand is admittedly difficult to drive home without the ability to touch, experience, and try on the product. What stood out to me from their lecture was a shift in perspective toward the big stores that seemed to define the game in the last twenty years. Designers who know their value no longer feel compelled to tolerate the difficult (and often impossible) terms and treatment forced upon them by the brick-and-mortars that used to singlehandedly define taste and drive commercial success for brands. While e-commerce and social media may not yet be tremendous sales drivers for the FS, they seem to think that the possibilities that lie within both mediums are far greater than the possibilities that lie within the stores that used to be everything in the eyes of designers. On a personal level, I’m researching Instagram’s ability to manufacture desire in the eyes of consumers – in a sense, unrelated to actual spending behaviors, but powerful nonetheless.

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