#smwf offers coffee shop analogy for retailers, repeats control vs presence argument

Social media can be likened to the coffee shop opposite your store, according to JC Mighty, e-commerce communications manager at Aurora Fashions, which owns UK high street brands Karen Millen, Oasis and Warehouse.

Speaking as part of a panel on social shopping at the Social Media World Forum (#smwf) today, he said: “Our website is like our store, email is the window of the store, and social is the coffee shop across the road from the store.”

In so doing, he aimed to banish the notion fashion brands should fear “losing control” through the social space – (it’s somewhat astounding this is still raised as a discussion point, but it proved, as on many other occasions, a key question to the panel this afternoon).

Mighty explained while in this online world, much like its offline counterpart, you can’t control what consumers are saying, if you go into the “cafe” you can at least engage with them there.

“The customer exists in that space, talks in that space… it’s not control we need to regain, but presence we need to establish,” he said.

At some point, I hope we manage to stop repeating that very fact, the having to define what social is in order to encourage retailers on board. It would seem, perhaps surprisingly however, we’re not yet there.