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Social Media and Big Data - The Next Trend in the Fashion Industry

Tue, Jul 15, 2014

For Fashion Companies that utilize digital platforms to build brand awareness and sell their products, the exponential growth of social media becomes harder and harder to ignore. Since staying ahead of the game is of utmost importance in the fashion industry, top fashion brands have taken the opportunity to utilize social media in several ways, the most widespread being for advertising. Now, social media has another advantage to add to its list - Big Data.

The Impact of Social Media on the Fashion Industry

With more than a billion people on social networks, a majority of them being early adopters and online shoppers, fashion brands have multiple opportunities to tap into this gaping source of information. Social by nature, fashion is one of the leading industries to be active on social platforms - its audience eager in anticipation to like, comment, share, tweet, pin and favorite new products or Instagram about what trends are hot right now. So it is no surprise that designers have enlisted the power of social media to generate innovative ways to let consumers participate in the industry - to crowdsource ideas, collect customer opinions and receive feedback on products.

Ways Big Data is Changing Fashion

From the start of the design process to the Facebook photo you post of a latest design, fashion brands are able to gather consumer comments and harness this knowledge to their advantage to generate fashion that is more accessible, efficient and up to date. All of this interaction and engagement with the consumers add up to a substantial collection of data - ideal to assess market demand for certain styles.

Attending a runway show for an example, no longer offers an exclusive first look to only the fashion's elite community. In fact, during recent fashion shows, pictures of latest collections were shared online before the show, demonstrating that forward thinking brands are going beyond social media to deliver a completely new type of fashion week experience. Brands such as Micheal Kors teamed up with Pinterest to contribute to their fashion week hub for the duration of the New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks. Burberry, the venerable British brand took one step ahead during the London Fashion Week by partnering with Twitter to tweet backstage photos of each and every look in the fashion collection before live streaming the event. It also made select items available for purchase immediately after, disrupting the power of the elite community and magazine editors to showcase the latest styles.

Opening up such a large event also provides a great way of evaluating consumer reactions, which can make or break a brand's seasonal collections. By listening to their instantaneous and collective feedback, brands are able to determine which trends are gaining momentum, and which ones are receiving negative feedback. Using these data analytics, brands can now make calculated alterations to designs, production and marketing prior to launching a new collection, lessening the risk that the products won't sell.

Without a doubt, social media and big data is starting to make a huge impact on fashion, with more developments and innovations to come. Through online interaction and exciting engagement, the industry is gradually opening its doors to millions of fashion enthusiasts around the world, who are more than eager to share their opinions. This way, clothing retailers can easily gauge what people want to wear before they even see it and create an outstanding retail experience for both the designer and the company.