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Blog: Retailers must innovate to make a success of their social strategy

Topshop’s announcement today that it is partnering with Facebook for its first-ever live ‘customisation of the catwalk’ is one of the clearest indications yet that fashion brands and retailers, who have yet to really crack social media platform as a sales channel, are searching for innovative new ways to capitalise on the medium.

With consumer shopping habits changing out of all recognition, it’s imperative that fashion businesses adapt and find new ways to target the multichannel, or even omnichannel, consumer. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Burberry, a brand known for using Facebook to maximum effect, Topshop is doing just that by partnering with the social media network to offer fans an interactive experience during the screening of its Topshop Unique Spring Summer 2013 London Fashion Week show.

Fans will be able to customise the catwalk by changing the colour of their favourite looks and accessories and share them immediately, or order them with delivery three months ahead of industry lead times, all via a small ‘shoot the show’ camera button placed next to the livestream, developed with Facebook’s in-house engineers.

The initiative is likely to prove popular with digitally engaged younger generations desperate to order the favourite looks right off the runway, and will no doubt create a buzz around the show.

With F-commerce having so far failed to set the retail world alight, and the likes of JC Penny and Gap having previously closed their Facebook stores, it has largely been used by fashion brands and retailers as a brand building and communications tool. However, with developments such as this, it will be interesting to see how the channel develops further, and in particular what Facebook has to say about its own future plans at the social network’s Retail Summit next week.

Topshop’s is partnering with Facebook for its first-ever live ‘customisation of the catwalk’.

Topshop’s is partnering with Facebook for its first-ever live ‘customisation of the catwalk’.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Sean Murray

    At last and encouraging to see FB being used in a relevant way. So many brands took the message of 'not using social to sell' to the extreme and have produced content strategies containing irrelevant and unhelpful content for their customers. There's a balance to be made. Helpful, inspiring content - relevant to the brand and product - together with innovation like Topshop have created, is going to be a powerful tool for retail brands. Ditch the pictures of fluffy kittens and engage on the subjects that matter ;) Sean

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  • Ian Middleton

    Totally agree with all the above except I think if I were in Topshop's position I'd have gone for a stand-alone application. Facebook is still far too flaky and transitory to rely on. I must get at least 3 updates a week on the mobile app alone!

    Online content like this for fashion retailers really is going to explode in the next couple of years though IMHO.

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