Fashion brands increasingly rely on social media to lure customers. Product promotions, discount offers, and even complaint resolutions now take place on social media. How does this online outreach impact customers? A study in India finds that when customers get involved in online activities of fashion brands, they tend to become more eager to buy their products.
The study’s authors, Sukanya Sharma of the Indian Institute of Technology Dhanbad and others, surveyed around 300 Facebook users from three cities in eastern India. The survey took place in malls, as mall-goers are more likely to be aware of fashion brands and have buying power. Around 62% of those surveyed were women, more than half were aged 18-25, and 60% were unmarried.
An analysis of the survey results shows that social media activities of fashion brands do encourage customers directly and indirectly to buy products by strengthening the customer-brand relationship.
The authors observe the use of different strategies by fashion brand pages on Facebook, such as allowing customers to share opinions with others (‘interactivity’), keeping them up to date with the latest design trends (‘trendiness’), giving accurate details on products (‘informativeness’), letting customers suggest products to others (‘word of mouth’), and giving customized recommendations (‘personalization’). The study finds brand pages encouraging word-of-mouth activities the most, followed by trendiness and interactivity.
Customers engaged in these activities form a stronger relationship with the brand. They develop more trust in the brand and see it as dependable, and are more committed to strengthen the relationship. They also derive greater satisfaction. The authors suggest that brands should structure their online marketing around generating trust, satisfaction and commitment from users to encourage them to buy more.