A new trend is gaining steam on the e-commerce block: High-end retail giants like J. Crew, looking to create ever-closer bonds with their customers, are using social networks like Facebook to turn consumers into online “friends.”
The most inventive is, J. Crew, which is going far beyond the typical “corporate Facebook page or Twitter feed” offered up by most retailers to offer creative and thoroughly interactive ways for J. Crew shoppers to build new online bonds with the brand.
This shift in strategy started in 2009 with Jenna’s Picks, a list of J. Crew products compiled by the company’s executive creative director-turned-President Jenna Lyons and posted on the brand’s Web site. The New York Times wrote that “J. Crew saw a business opportunity in assuming the role of a sophisticated and self-assured friend” by recommending products beloved by its employees.
With the ever-growing Jenna’s List, J. Crew can organically assist consumers in making retail choices. And its popularity is undeniable — the list has become so popular that the items featured on it typically sell out. Now, J. Crew is taking the list even further, by suggesting brands and products that are not sold by the company. “What the world needs now is curators and filters,” explained ad executive Anthony Sperduti, who created J. Crew’s latest “in good company” campaign, which features a mix of J. Crew and non-J. Crew products.
J. Crew’s Twitter handle is called the “J. Crew Insider” (its popularity has skyrocketed to 15,931 followers since its creation in March 2009) and it offers behind-the-scenes shopping opportunities and product updates. On Facebook, J. Crew’s fan page has 268,205 fans and offers them constant features — most recently, the clothing company asked its followers to whip out their crayons in celebration of the new “Crewcuts” coloring book, and the page regularly gets updated with insider photos from promotional parties. Fans of J. Crew can also send virtual gifts — J. Crew products — to their friends, like the Jericho Tote or Camden Brogue. J. Crew fans can also now sign up for a complimentary appointment for in-store personal shopping, a year-old feature from J. Crew, via the Facebook page.