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Express models how to leverage Snapchat for in-store activation

Express exemplifies how retailers can drive in-store shopping with Snapchat via a recent call-to-action prompting followers to screenshot a mobile-optimized checklist of festival fashions.

The apparel brand is driving spring collection sales through the photo-sharing platform by showing off a festival-ready outfit along with product descriptions, and encouraging users to visit a store to cross off the checklist. While Express is creating a dialogue with followers, it is also showing off buzzworthy products and a call-to-action, getting fans in its actual stores.

“Express has been using Snapchat, as well as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, to promote its seasonal lines, as do many other retailers and brands, in the hopes of raising buzz and desire for the product,” said Thom Jordan, CEO of Ping Mobile. “Other than the ‘like,’ this is generally a one-directional push and does not actively engage or encourage two-way communication, unless there is a specific call-to-action or call-to-respond.

“Express is taking this to the next level by asking them to respond to its Snapchat stories with their own photos of their ideal festival item checklists, outfits, and gear, with comments,” he said. “This creates the buss, the engagement, the pull, Express gets direct feedback from its targets, insights on consumer trends, and expanded social promotion via the follower feeds.

“What Express is doing here is using Snapchat as an optimal way to engage consumers with single topic visual surveys and receive valuable consumer feedback. A ‘picture is worth a thousand words’ rings especially true with this tactic.”

Snapping success
The apparel and accessories retailer is tapping into a popular clothing and consumer trend for the spring season in which attendees and those staying home are both interested in the bohemian-style look, known as festival-wear. Express is prompting more users to follow its Snapchat account through Twitter and Facebook.

Followers were served a flat view image of a variety of products put together for an ideal outfit to attend a festival. The image showcased a dress paired with a cross-body fringe bag, leather necklace, heart-shaped sunglasses, wedges, a floppy hat and beaded bracelets.

The image by itself is enough to catch the eye of many consumers interested in a similar outfit. But the following Snap is how Express brought consumers into its stores and conversation, with a description of each featured product in the format of a checklist.

Express prompted to users to save the image and respond by sharing images of their interpretations of the outfit and the products on the checklist they bought.

The Snapchat Express
The retailer recently started this use of its public Snapchat account to foster two-way communication between the brand and its loyal fans, and could soon bring other millennial-friendly retailers to the fray, especially once they discover the potential for receiving customer feedback on new styles (see more).

“This also elevates the brand-to-consumer relationship into more ‘personal’ territory when Express asks for responses such as this,” Mr. Jordan said. “The consumer feels valued and important, and by default the Express brand is more valued by the consumer due to this relationship elevation.

“Showcasing the best responses on the Express Snapchat story feed, as well as on other social media feeds, is a great way to generate follower engagement and reward the most engaged with social acknowledgement,” he said. “To many followers, this is social media currency.

“As Express executes this type of strategy of social media visual surveys more and more, I expect them to begin to fine tune the engagement model. Possibly inserting gamification tactics as well to increase follower engagement.”