The latest product of the happy marriage between fashion commerce and social media is Zappos’s new Instagram-based personalshopping service, Next OOTD. Whenever you post a selfie with the hashtag #nextOOTD, a real live Zappos stylist will comb through your Instagram history and respond with personalized shopping recommendations catered to your style.
Instagram fanatics might be familiar with the hashtag #ootd, which stands for Outfit of the Day. Used to tag style-brag selfies, the hashtag has over 23 million posts attached to it. To most, it’s just another sub-strain of the growing selfie pandemic, but to clothing retailers, it provides an online treasure trove of data about what people are wearing. "We looked at [those figures] and asked as a retailer how do we be a part of that?" Will Young, director of Zappos Labs, the San Francisco-based experimentation and innovation branch of Zappos, said during SXSW last week.
Zappos prides itself on providing human-to-human customer service in a world of maddening automated menus. One bragging point is that their longest customer service phone call lasted an ungodly nine and a half hours. NextOOTD aims to extend those unusual service standards into the realm of digital communication and social media. While the service is in its pilot phase and manned by just one person, Young says the company plans to add more stylists. "Personal shopping via Instagram—that could be the future of our business," Young says. "It could have a 50-person team manning it and making personalized shopping recommendations."
Zappos has always maintained an intense focus on social media—it's a fan of sponsored Facebook posts, which Young calls "a necessary evil." Virtually any forward-thinking clothing business is trying to design innovative ways to capitalize on the digital, and the smartest campaigns feed off of the inherent self-involvement in our selfie-obsessed culture, using personalized services as their main platforms. This year's New York Fashion Week was rife with designers who tapped into the marketing potential of hashtagging and digital over-sharing, from a Twitter-based perfume-bartering system to a personalized on-demand runway photo service.
[h/t Fashion and Mash]