Those statements (paraphrased a tad) came from David Sulute, the VP of Technology for 9 Threads. Sulute was one of the speakers at today’s Fashion140 Conference in New York and thanks to the miracle of live streaming, I got to listen in.
The conference was all about fashion and social media, but as you can imagine, much of what was discussed can be applied to any business. Sulute’s overall point was this, ROI is unknowable in social media, so you might as well do what you can do reasonably, then sit back and let it happen. Basically, if you build it right, they will come. . .
I Can’t Hear You When You’re Shouting
. . .but they won’t stay if you don’t treat them right. Andy Dunn, co-founder of online men’s clothier Bonobos, had the best quote of the afternoon. He said, “Social media is not a chance to shout at your customers.”
His company started off selling only their special cut of trousers, but at some point they got smart enough to ask their customers what else they wanted. They wanted shirts with the same great fit, so Bonobos started selling shirts, which led to sweaters, shoes, belts and the rest. And they offer free shipping, even on returns and you can return anything, anytime — forever. Customer service is what sets them apart. Talk to your customers, he says, don’t talk at them.
Another great quote: “Use social media to create brands that otherwise wouldn’t exist.” People told Dunn he was crazy trying to sell pants online, lucky for him, he didn’t listen.
The Tweens Shall Inherit the Earth
The last person I listened to was Nancy Ganz from FashionFantasyGame.com (full disclosure, I help with the social media for the site). Nancy brought a group of tween girls on stage to talk about internet buying habits.
All of the girls said they had their own computers and cell phones with the internet. They all shop online and half of them shop with their own credit cards. When asked how they decide what to buy, they said recommendations from friends and family and they all said they click on online ads. After they buy, or when deciding to buy, they contact friends by phone or text to talk about it.
The older girls had Facebook pages and they follow at least one brand. All of them said they liked email as a way of getting brand messaging because they could get it on the computer or their phone. Marketing messages sent as texts were frowned upon.
Savvy shoppers, the girls said they look for coupons for stores they frequent and they look for free shipping online. This fall, collectively they expected to buy between 25 and 50% of their back-to-school items online.
Fashion, beauty, games, toys — these girls are your customers and they have the smarts and the money to help make your business a success.
If you’re even remotely connected to the fashion business, check out the replay of this morning’s presentations at Fashion Lincoln Center. For everyone else, watch for the afternoon session replay for great speakers talking about humanizing brands, blogging for a living and ROI in social media.