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Forever 21 uniquely drives sales through consumer-generated outfit gallery

Apparel retailer Forever 21 is encouraging shoppers to upload their own photos of summer looks for a chance to be promoted through the chain’s social networks and on its mobile-optimized site with shoppable links to featured merchandise, bringing the customer to the forefront in a unique effort to drive sales.

Users upload images of their favorite warm-weather Forever 21 outfits to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #F21xMe or #F21SummerCool and tag @Forever21 to be featured in its gallery and shared on social media, where consumers can shop the looks showcased in the photos. The campaign puts the focus on consumers and fans with user-generated content that creates a celebrity-like atmosphere for these users, and in addition produces a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

“This is increasingly the path shoppers are using to find the products they want to buy,” said Mark Cluett, marketing manager at Polar, Toronto. “Fashion and retail in general drive so much social traffic.

“When you make the leap from browsing to shopping an easy one, you have a winning strategy,” he said. “These days, any page has to be mobile optimized or you risk losing the user.

“The longer they have to wait or the more hoops they have to jump through to make content appear properly on there screen are avenues for them to hop off your content and on to the next thing that works the way they want to see it.”

The campaign is running through the entire summer, and is featured on all of Forever 21’s social media accounts.

Innovating sales
Forever 21’s contest implements a unique approach to drive summer sales. While social media and ‘selfie’ campaigns are common, creating a mobile-optimized shoppable gallery is not seen as often.

This idea makes consumers feel valued and as if they are the clothing models, enticing them to get involved and shop the apparel.

The campaign also features the consumer’s Instagram or Twitter handle, promoting the social media pages of the particular user. This is enough to fuel many users to engage with the brand, as the thought behind gaining more followers is appealing to many users and also furthers that celebrity-like quality.

These hashtags are not solely for the purpose of the campaign; the retailer consistently shares photos of merchandise and other attention-grabbing content, including these hashtags, in an effort for them to trend. Its accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all include links to shop any of the apparel showcased through the social media channels.

It is important for brands to value their consumers and almost put them on a pedestal. This type of a campaign creates an authentic bond between the brand and consumer to maintain a continued sales relationship.

Consumer-first campaign
This campaign is also beneficial because it promotes the apparel in a way that catches the consumer’s eye on numerous channels, creating more of a chance for driving sales.

Similar to this campaign, fashionable apparel and accessories retailer Hennes & Mauritz, commonly known as H&M, boosted sales with curated lists of trending items in the form of a blog post on social media, playing on consumers’ love of pictures and snackable content (see more).

Additionally, Twitter now has the capacity to become a significant player in mcommerce as event marketers and music artists flock to the social media application’s buy button for exclusive selling opportunities, confirming the potential for social networks to target users with geo-located advertisements and drive impulse buys (see more).

These campaigns are all examples of how brands are attempting to navigate driving sales through social networks.

“It is definitely a successful way to drive awareness, but the path to sales through Instagram is still being forged,” Mr. Cluett said. “Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily