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Selfie shopping and why you should embrace consumer creativity

The time has come to dispense of the myth that the 'selfie' is a craze and embrace it as a valuable marketing tool in the media plan, says Ollie Bath, co-founder and UK managing director at CloudTags.

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If you need any confirmation of how ingrained the selfie is in popular culture, take note of the recent 'no make up' and 'thumbs up' charity selfies, which perfectly illustrate the level of awareness and engagement a set of amateur photos can achieve.

Each selfie shopper has the power to keep tills ringing and raise brand awareness in an instant.

Following forays into selfie-led marketing by Pilot and Ann Summers, French Connection is the latest brand to take the selfie into the mainstream marketing fold. Its in-store campaign is designed to build on an emerging consumer: the selfie shopper.

Selfie shopping is getting smarter

Previous selfie shopper campaigns were fairly straightforward in their engagement.

Pilot, through its work with Mary Portas, encouraged shoppers to take selfies in its changing rooms to gauge the opinions of friends prior to purchase, while Ann Summers took this a step further by printing a hashtag on changing room mirrors, coaxing a more accountable level of engagement with social media.

But 'Selfie shopper' marketing is now moving into a more intelligent era and progressive marketers need to take notice. The latest selfie campaign from French Connection involves pre-registration, in-store events, a set hashtag, and a print display element to complement online activity.

The French Connection campaign also adds an element of competition, asking consumers to construct outfits in store and then take a selfie.

Selfeed: A real-time showcase of Instagram users posting pictures using the #Selfie tag

Introduce competition

Selfies play on the attention-seeking and creative side of shoppers today, which is why the retail space is the perfect ground.

The campaigns are billed as a 'head-to-head online battle to curate the best and most fashionable selfie'. In validating a shoppers' styling prowess, French Connection has created something a consumer would be willing to post across social media channels - but they're also choosing to display the selfies in store as part of a rounded campaign.

Selfies play on the attention-seeking and creative side of shoppers today, which is why the retail space is the perfect ground for 'selfie shopper' marketing.

Individuals have an inherent desire to seek approval and where they previously would have asked the changing room assistant for their opinion of an outfit, it's just as easy and even more wide-reaching to take a selfie, broadcast it across multiple social media channels, and gain instant feedback. It's this need for approval and immediate gratification that fuels the selfie. This is why marketers need to seize this opportunity, as positive reaction to selfies often results in instant purchases and at the same time, influences those engaged in the conversation.

Driving sales?

Each selfie shopper has the power to keep tills ringing and raise brand awareness in an instant, which is why marketers need to make this kind of interaction as easy as possible.

This can be done by providing technology to create the perfect selfie environment - such as flattering lighting or photobooths, prompting consumers to use a designated hashtag - or rewarding those consumers who do engage with a personalised service, offers or discounts. Free in-store wifi will also encourage sharing.

Alternatively, stores could also consider providing technology that enables shoppers to curate a virtual wishlist that they can share with friends for approval. This list could also be linked to a consumer’s email address or social account and should they later purchase online, the store can attribute the sale to the original store.

What will be interesting is how this selfie trend develops. Could increased digital interaction in physical stores become the norm as retailers look to blur the lines and create omnichannel experiences that blend digital and physical?

What is clear, however, is that marketers that don’t embrace selfie marketing as a tool in its own right - or who fail to target this new breed of selfie shopper - could lose out on valuable sales.

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk

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