Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Trend? Shopping with Facebook: No Thank You
I guess it should come as no surprise that this marriage has happened but it doesn't mean I have to 'like' it. Brazilian retailer, C&A, has networked its hangers in-store to count in real-time, Facebook 'likes' for all items currently being sold. They call this new system - Fashion Like. I feel like this is a real step backward in many ways. I will acknowledge that there is a certain awe factor for this marketing marvel development but are we really that self-conscious that clothing purchases need to be approved by the social media community? Bring on the groupthink.

Personally, the more 'likes' an item had, the more I would venture away from buying such an item (leaving me to purchase low-count garments). I'm sure there are those out there who would feel the same. I do think though, that this idea was developed and implemented because it will increase sales of their product. It is not enough these days to have your shopping buddy give credence to your purchases, today we need personal style blogs and apparently a 'like' counter to validate our fashion purchases. I would 'like' to think that people would not be swayed by Facebook counters on hangers but it seems like everyday I'm reading about some 'it' item that Princess Katherine Middleton or the Olsens etc... wore and is sold out the next day. So if that can be used as any sort of predictor, this counting hanger will be a hit for the retailer. 

Ethics: Advertisers have found a new way to play upon the insecurities of women on how we look, dress and the need for a second opinion; is this going too far?

Consumption and Waste: Shouldn't we be encouraging personal style and move away from mindless consumption. Will this increase consumption rates by creating more desire to purchase all these 'liked' items? A new virtual peer pressure if you will. Will stores be left with piles of clothing that are not 'liked' that might have otherwise sold if they didn't have a counter? This really doesn't help consumers buy better and by this I mean, buying what you 'like' as an individual and what looks good on you. Not all styles and fashion look good on everybody. I have loved many beautiful clothes only to try it on and realize on me, it's an epic fail. Learning to dress for you and what makes you feel amazing is not an easy task given the fashion pressures society faces these days. 

Not to mention, these 'likes' are based on pictures on the web. Fabric, fit and quality cannot be assessed, so is this a true reflection of how great an item really is? Therefore, should we let groupthink guide our purchasing behaviours? 

Are there any measures in place to stop the retailer from voting a million times on its own products? Employees sitting in the back room hitting 'like' repeatedly. I know that sounds cynical and very conspiracy theory but historically speaking there has been way more bad corporate behaviour than good.

Worse yet, what if someone switched the hangers and you came home only to realize you didn't buy the 'it' piece! Oh, the horrors.