Levi’s case study: A lesson in social shopping

Levi’s is a brand that is embedded in American culture since its beginnings in 1873. They urge their customers to develop their own personal style with their jeanswear and accessory brand in over 110 countries. They stand for the kind of individuality and freedom that other companies only talk about, and they do it with a swagger that screams “effortless cool”. One might say they could be considered one of the oldest modern trend-setters in the world. So in 2010 when they were one of the first brands to integrate social plug-ins to their website, it wasn’t long before other brands followed suit.

With the addition of Facebook “like” plug-ins, Levi’s revolutionized the online shopping experience. Customers could view products based on the number of likes each one had, and even see which of their friends had liked the same products they did. They even created a separate “Friend Store” in which the products that were liked by the customers’ Facebook friends accumulated to form a customized list of items they might be interested in buying.

The beauty of this strategy is that the customers d0 the marketing for Levi’s. The format acts as a new, tech savvy form of word of mouth. It provides a real opportunity for users to share with their friends and help influence each others’ purchases as it attempts to combine the experience of online shopping with a trip to the mall. The jeans your friends like are the ones that you might be more likely to buy, and so Levi’s created a system of measuring this approval and positioning their products accordingly.

On social media, Levi’s has good presence all around. They integrate hashtags like #501s to promote their most famous and beloved style of jeans, and they have a high frequency of celebrity involvement that they make sure to highlight on all platforms. Content is consistent, but more importantly it is culturally relevant. Most recently, the brand used Earth day as a way to promote their “Waste-less” eco-friendly jeans. This trend-setting brand status has landed them over 150,000 Twitter followers and  over 17 million Facebook likes, up from 180,000 in 2009. Now, 30% of daily traffic to levi.com, largely thanks to the social shopping campaign. It seems as though their loyal customers consider them worth following, which is why adding “likes” to their shopping experience doesn’t seem like such a radical idea.

The big picture? The social shopping phenomenon that Levi’s set in motion has become hugely influential in the way we research, browse, and ultimately buy the things we want to online. The more seamless integration between their website and Facebook has allowed Levi’s to market directly to where their customers are looking online, and one that allows those customers to advertise to each other. The campaign has helped to solidify them as an important social media influencer and one that is proactive about what their customers want. As an emerging young professional and avid online shopper, I think this is only just the beginning for social shopping. With the unprecedented ease and sophistication of shopping online today, users can buy and sell with the click of a button, and sharing these transactions is just one more click away. Brands who embrace this trend as Levi’s has will be well on their way to selling more product and providing more attuned shopping experiences than ever before.

Tell me your thoughts. Are you a social shopper? Have Facebook plug-ins influenced your shopping in any way?

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Filed under Case Studies, Social Media

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