Will FashionLike, a new tool being rolled out by European Company C&A, drive more consumer sales at brick and mortar stores? Or, will FashionLike introduce a new era that eradicates individual thinking and kill personal style? Using digital hangers, C&A is trying to leverage product popularity as a marketing tool to encourage consumers to finalize a purchase while in the store. C&A hopes customer doubt about whether to purchase an item vanishes once they see the amount of Facebook “Likes” on the digital hanger.
How it works: The company’s Facebook users are able to view the clothes that are available at the store on their profile and “Like” any item. Once an item is “Liked” it is added to a digital screen embedded into the wooden hanger at the store. C&A thinks that giving consumers more data about Facebook “Likes” can influence consumer purchases at brick and mortar stores.
A company representative explained the idea behind FashionLike (translated from Portuguese), “When they go clothes shopping, women always feel insecure and want a second opinion. But one second opinion is never enough. So how about finding what everyone on Facebook thinks of a particular item of clothing?” (NBC Bay Area)
With any new marketing concept, however, problems arise. The most obvious issue with digital hangers is the possibility of shoppers switching the items from their corresponding hangers. Holding that aside, there are serious questions about whether shoppers really want an item that is liked by thousands of random people? Especially whether digital hangers will drive away stylish influencers, the target market for many brands.
Die-hard stylists and fashionistas have already raised some doubt about digital hangers. The pushback is not surprising since stylish individuals often prefer a unique style, as opposed to being influenced by general popularity or what’s in most people’s closet. One fashion blogger, Nora Crotty, described her personal hesitancy to use FashionLike in stark terms: “I wouldn’t even want style advice from 90% of my Facebook ‘friends’, let alone the entirety of the Facebook universe. Even Mark Zuckerberg wears a hoodie every day.”
As with all new ideas, the market is the final judge. So, while this new digital marketing tool may not work for everyone, it’s still an extremely innovative concept that will at least attract the attention of many shoppers. And isn’t that really the point?