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Kohl’s teases new Peter Som line via shoppable social video

Kohl’s is making shoppable social video on Google+ and YouTube a key part of its strategy to introduce a new limited-edition line of clothing from design Peter Som.

The retailer recently let consumers get a sneak peak of the new line before its official launch via a Google + hangout, with viewers able to purchase select items directly from the hangout. The social strategy, which also includes a shoppable YouTube channel, is part of a bigger campaign around the launch of the Peter Som for DesigNation collection that also includes print, broadcast and digital media.

“The new approach to social commerce is exciting, and we expect to see a lot more experiments with it in the coming months,” said Deborah Hanamura, director of marketing at Metia, Kirkland, WA. “Further, the approach can be applied outside of retail.

“Shoppable hangouts should be on the radar of fundraisers, event promoters, and anyone who can make a connection between content and commerce,” she said.

Ms. Hanamura is not affiliated with Kohl’s and spoke based on her experience.

Kohl’s declined to comment.

Inspired by St. Barts
The new Peter Som for DesigNation collection features a variety of clothing items that were inspired by St. Barts and are available in limited quantities for a limited period of time.

The official launch of the line was April 10, but the Google + hangouts took place on April 4 and
People StyleWatch magazine’s Kate Dimmock as well as other fashion bloggers talking about the line and sharing styling tips. Viewers could shop select pieces from the collection before its official April 10 launch directly from the hangout.

Shoppers were also able to visit on April 4 and 5 to shop during a pre-sale event.

Kohl’s continues to showcase the collection with video content across all social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube.

The video of Kohl’s shoppable Google+ hangout.

“By inviting impactful fashion bloggers to an exclusive hangout, Kohl’s is inviting these critics to publicly share an opinion and hopefully promote their products,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile.

“Since the number of active participants is limited, it is important to make sure that broadened visibility and interactivity of a shoppable hangout are properly executed,” she said. “Brands hosting hangouts typically record the session in order to allow those that couldn’t make it to the hangout catch up on the inspiration at a more convenient time.
“Kohl’s also accepted questions via a live Twitter feed. This allowed viewers who were connected through the ‘OnAir’ function to still feel like they played a participatory role in the hangout.

Adding a shoppable feature to a new release also gives Kohl’s data to indicate which pieces from its new season line up will be most popular.

Digital shopping network
The Kohl’s effort is the latest example of how retailers are embracing social media and digital video to drive awareness for their offerings.

What is interesting about what Kohl’s is doing is that the Google + hangout and the YouTube channel are, in effect, a digital shopping network, with viewers able to watch the designer and fashion experts talking about the clothes. They can also immediately make a purchase by clicking on images of individual items appearing adjacent to the video.

For mobile users, they can easily watch a video and then make a purchase by clicking on an item, bringing them to that item’s product page on the site.

Kohl’s DesigNation collection features fashions based on international inspiration and created by well-known fashion designers. Kohl’s previously collaborated with Narcisco Rodriguez and Derek Lam for DesigNation.

Peter Som’s collection includes misses’ apparel in tropical-inspired prints at prices ranging from $38 to $88.

The line is available in-store with an extensive assortment of exclusive styles and colors will be available only on

“At a time when social platforms seem to be looking more and more alike – particularly the morph of Twitter’s feed into a Facebook doppelganger – it’s refreshing to see something new in social media,” Ms. Hanamura said.

“Google+ has been a barely-adopted afterthought in many social strategies, however marketers may be more motivated to experiment with Google+ as Facebook’s algorithms suppress unpromoted brand content,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily