Clothes Hangers Go Social


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There’s a fierce debate going on in Australian retail regarding the online sales threat. Major retailers are under siege from the rise in online sales – particularly from overseas vendors (though I personally feel local eCommerce merchants are the more significant threat) .

Whist many bricks and mortar retailers have embraced online, the majority are laggards, and are lacking in any real innovation as to how to combine the physical and virtual experience – some seem to think that innovation is to try and copy Apple – a retail experience that I’d hate to see replicated and forced onto other consumers. In essence though, here in Australia there is a real lack of innovative thinking.

Innovation in Retail

One example that I came across from overseas is from Brazilian retailer C & A – they’ve taken the idea of having Facebook Likes on a product listed online and introduced this into the physical experience – via a clothes hanger that can be configured to include a counter showing Facebook likes.

This video shows this in action:

Retail Implications

This convergence has a number of implications for retailers. The idea that we can bring the Facebook community into store – and into the product range is exciting.

The real value though is when we start to consider how we can augment RFID technology into the solution. RFID opens up possibilities around ease of use – embedding RFID into the actual product allows us to streamline the use of product and hangers – also bringing a new real-time dimension into this. Now lets take that a step further and combine products, Facebook Likes, and location based services (Foursquare or Facebook Places) into a dynamic environment.

So much opportunity, so little blue ocean strategy thinking!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Parker
Mark Parker is the founder of Smart Selling, and the specialist business unit – Smart Social Media. The core aim of both businesses is to help companies become better sales organisations by utilising the ideas, tools, and practices of Sales 2. and social media.


  1. Mark, I agree that e-commerce threat is a threat to traditional retailers, but I wonder if it’s a severe as the media reports suggest.

    For example, “showrooming” is more of a problem for electronics retailers, and Best Buy has a plan…

    … but when I talked to a big electronics retailer recently, I was told they had not seen a a big impact yet. And a clothing retailer said the problem didn’t really apply to them.

    Maybe they are in denial or their data is faulty (although both a huge analytics users). Personally I think that there have always been price shoppers and there always will be price shoppers. If someone comes into a store, it’s a great opportunity. I think more retailers should try to integrate online into offline, as the C&A example shows, instead of fighting online.

    I recently wrote about my experience buying a new BBQ grill. I could have bought it online at But I chose Home Depot because it had both online shopping and offline review and pickup.


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