Let’s talk about photos in stores.
This past weekend, millions of shoppers (albeit fewer than in 2013) descended on their favourite shops to pick up deals tied to Black Friday. Retailers accordingly ran varied promotions, offers and campaigns in a bid to drive that traffic their way – both in store and of course equally online.
Needless to say for many of them, a drive for social sharing anchored the initiatives. If you can get your goods shared / advocated for over Instagram, Facebook and Twitter tied to timed discounts particularly, that’s deemed a pretty hefty incentive for more people to shop.
This of course goes without saying for the seasoned social media staffer…
So how’s this for a confusing in-store strategy to accompany such a move then: Abercrombie & Fitch is running a campaign for the season with the tagline “Post it. Tag it. Like it.” appearing in its store windows. A no brainer for its digitally-savvy target consumer of course – Snapchat ahoy! Online, it’s kidswear line is also promoting the idea of sharing across the usual platforms. “Let’s Get Social,” reads its website header, as pictured above.
A colleague of mine, while researching Thanksgiving weekend retail experiences, did of course opt to shoot some of said imagery in-store. She hit up the brand’s Glendale Galleria location on Saturday at noon, height of the holiday shopping weekend therefore, but was very swiftly asked to put her phone away.
Ok so fair enough, she was shooting the messaging; perhaps there’s still an argument to be had around copyright protection etc etc etc for retailers (though I actually want to argue this pretty heavily these days too given the image-driven world in which we now live), and the associates spotted her for looking more professional than social media-y.
What’s more mind-blowing though is the 13-year-old girls in the store at the same time who were asked to stop taking photos of themselves (#selfies!) when trying on a couple of hats.
The hipster sales guy, as my colleague so eloquently put it, walked over immediately and asked them to stop. He also told others of a similar age no photos at all were allowed to be taken in-store.
I witnessed the same only a couple of months ago in Gap. This time it was a guy in his 30s who was asked to stop. Admittedly he didn’t perhaps look like the type that was about to share his finds on social media, but rather ask his girlfriend’s opinion on whether or not to buy (“Darling, can I #dressnormal?). He certainly wasn’t about to take the shot of the blue jumper he was holding and frogmarch it straight to a factory in China for replication though I assure you.
I suspect in both instances this is a classic case of corporate strategy not reaching sales floor level. Understandably many tech-related things, especially for retailers with so many doors, get lost somewhere down the line. But this isn’t a matter of something substantially confusing or complex – a mere conversation with each manager should suffice.
At the end of the day, how do you expect to have a successful social media campaign and NOT allow social media in the one place you can truly call your own? Abercrombie team – suggest you call Glendale, stat.