Jason Wu for Target and the Social Shopping Experience

Shopping_frenzy

This weekend, like many in America, I went shopping. And I did it online.

On Sunday morning, a little after midnight, the Jason Wu for Target collection started to roll out. Slowly.

There was no announcement as to what time the sale would start, just announcements of February 5. And, by around 12:15 AM EST, bits and pieces of the collection were being loaded onto the website. Given past problems that Target has had rolling out designer collaboration collections, it makes sense that they wanted to upload slowly and not announce too much before everything was properly loaded. They wanted to avoid a crash. But, even though they didn’t announce an exact time, the night owl fashionistas were watching. And sharing. The site might not have crashed, but the items sold out. And fast.

The people doing community management for the Twitter account and Facebook page did a good job of responding to stressed out customers, even the rude ones, asking how they could help and posting links to items as they went up (this happened more on Twitter).

But what really made me think about the social shopping aspect of this new age was the conversations I saw taking place on the Facebook wall for Target Style.

Women were posting questions about certain items and before there was even a chance for the CM to respond, other women were answering – with links and search tips. In fact, if it wasn’t for the search tips of some of the women, I’m not sure I would have even realized that the items I was searching for had gone on sale. I was struck by how helpful and kind everyone was being to one another. No one was taunting or teasing. A few, sure, were complaining. But, for the most part, the women were just having a fun time shopping together, even though they might not have ever even laid eyes on each other’s avatars before.

The collaborative shopping experience reminded me of shopping with a friend – when you are both searching through the pop-up shop or sample sale room, and exchanging items and sizes with each other. In fact, I did this late night shopping with a friend. My friend Alice and I used to work together, when I worked in the fashion & beauty industry. We sometimes go shopping together and Jason Wu for Target was not something that either of us was going to miss. I was on my laptop, tucked into bed, in Brooklyn. She was working (late) in her office, in Manhattan. Yet we still traded items and encouraged each other to buy (or not buy) certain things and, inevitably, bought one of the same items – which we seem to do from nearly every Target collection we purchase from, whether we plan to or not!

The social shopping experience was not about pictures pinned to a board or posting things to my own Twitter stream or Facebook page and gathering group opinion. This social shopping experience was about being social. With people I know and people I don’t know. This was about people coming together to help each other get what they wanted. And about the company having people on top of things and trying to be as helpful as they possibly could be.
There is a bit of negativity going around the web about the Jason Wu experience. But much of it comes from what happened in some stores (where buying limits were either ignored or not understood by some employees). For my part, though I was not able to get some of the items I was hoping for, it wasn’t a bad experience or a debacle.

And one of my favorite things was watching the positive interactions between consumers on the Facebook wall of Target Style. I believe we’ll see a lot more of that in the future. What do you say?

 

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