Many fashion brands, boutiques and online retailers have gone through the perfunctory process of creating a Twitter account and are left...wondering exactly to do with it. While there are certainly benefits to building relationships with media, consumers, potential partners just by following and engaging, Moxsie has gone a step further to actually crowd-source buying decisions through a weekly Twitter chat called #buyerchat.
During WWDMAGIC, Moxsie partnered with Tulle to host the first live buyer chat through Twitter, asking for feedback on a rack full of delicious fall apparel. True to form, Moxsie chose one particular tweeter (cough ok it was me cough) to award a $50 gift card to shop. Squee!
If you have ever had dreams of owning your own boutique (check) being a fashion buyer (check) or just have strong opinions when it comes to what should be left on the rack (yup, another check), you'll love the opportunity to banter back and forth with other fashion fiends and share your thoughts directly with one of Internet Retailer's Top 100. Naturally, I wanted to learn more about #buyerchat and caught up with Moxsie marketing creative manager Mayka Mei for the deets:
Briefly explain how it works
With #buyerchat, Moxsie's Twitter followers tell us exactly what they want to see us carry in next season's collections. We alert our followers when our buying meetings are, and once the brand rep arrives, they get to give us instant, direct input on all those things we think we know. Which color shoe is best? Which colorblocked tee would be easier to style and wear? We ask those questions and get an instant measure of reaction.
We've basically broken down the fourth wall on buying meetings. It made complete sense for us because we had this huge Twitter following, everyone with their own opinions, and nothing could be more valuable to our independent designers than to know what "the market" actually wants. Plus, of course, it's a unique opportunity for our fans and potential customers to be involved in our buying decisions. Hopefully it's fun!
How has it helped to drive engagement and follower growth
The engagement and growth has definitely been positive. We've gotten to know our followers beyond their Twitter avatars. We know the regulars' styles and are able to predict who's going to be #teamstripes or #teamjeggings. We've even met some in person at our weekly #streeteats. (We host a food truck at Moxsie's Palo Alto headquarters once a week. Calendar: http://moxs.ie/streeteats) With Twitter, we get to see our #buyerchat participants tweet to their friends recommending them to join #buyerchat and follow us. It allows us to watch our community grow.
Does it drive sales?
There's always one winner of the grand $50 #buyerchat prize, so of course there's at least one sale that comes from every #buyerchat. We've also seen as much buying interest from other participants who don't win, though. People will tweet us to ask when "that top from last week's Dolce Vita #buyerchat" will be available or they'll just get into the habit of asking us for style advice outside of the #buyerchat time frame. We try to respond to every request and let them know when #buyerchat pieces do arrive, then we watch as they announce to us that they've just purchased what they remembered from #buyerchat.
Another benefit of hosting #buyerchat on Twitter is that participants become accustomed to sharing with us through Twitter all along their shopping process, from discovery to deliberation to delivery - Most of the pics that are sent to us through Twitter are announcements that someone got a new Moxsie package.
Do you ask designer's permission? If so, how do you position participation to be of benefit to them?
Yes, we absolutely ask our designers for permission to share pictures first. As much as we want to build exposure for all our indie designers, we also respect that there are concerns about counterfeit designs or misuse and are always sensitive to that.
Our designers really like and appreciate #buyerchat, even the ones who don't really "get" Twitter. If anything, it's feedback that they can use toward their production decisions. Many of our designers consist of small teams and simply don't have the resources to traditionally market or promote themselves, so that's where we try to win them the public attention they deserve. By simply having a person dedicated to social media marketing, we're able to introduce them to our Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr network of fans, and they are usually grateful for the exposure.
What mistakes do you see other retailers/fashion brands making with their Twitter accounts?
- Any company who doesn't give a voice to their Twitter account is completely missing the picture. My next two pet peeves are related to that note.
- Only publishing site announcements - Sales announcements are always welcome. It's good to know that a new brand has been introduced to a site. But what about what music the office is listening to? Who are the company's favorite celebrities? Though it's in a totally difference space than retail, there is a reason why The Onion tweets its reactions during the Oscars. (And yes, Moxsie tweeted during the Oscars, too.)
- Not being transparent. Stuff happens, and Twitter is a prime medium to openly address that with your audience. Honesty is a quality that is consistently highly ranked and valued in leaders and public figures, and the same should be applied to people's favorite brands. If the site's down, let your community know "We're working on it." You'll probably find that you'll receive messages of hope and support when you do.