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For Fashion, Social Network Equals Market Research

  • Forbes, Friday, May 30, 2008 10:03 AM
Times may be tough for fashion retailers, but a little applied science and technology could help tremendously. The fashion industry is "a nightmare of surplus inventory, which leads to markdowns and unhealthy profit-and-loss statements." What it needs is an inexhaustible, ever-ready focus group that could help retailers cut back on excess purchases. Something like a social network.

Stockholm-based Stardoll could provide some answers. Stardoll is a social network that lets users create and accessorize their own virtual doll. The idea has proven to be so popular, that today Stardoll is the No. 1 site worldwide for pre-teen and teenage girls, according to comScore, with more than 7 million unique visitors per month and 16 million registered users from 200 countries.

How could a site like this help retailers? Say a brand launches a virtual collection on Stardoll that becomes an instant hit. Seven designs become particularly popular. "Knowing this, would (the retailer) need any other focus group or market research to figure out exactly what is striking a chord with its target consumers?" They could even pre-launch each season's designs on Stardoll in order to gauge how much inventory to buy. Given the site's global audience, retailers could also target geographically by region.

Read the whole story at Forbes »

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