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Social takes a bite out of fashion

November 12, 2013

Although the term kinda creeps me out, there is always a lot of talk of how software is eating the world, which in less carnivorous language means that everything is being changed by software.

Sure.

I live is a subset of the software world called social and from my vantage point, social is definitely taking a bite out of all that is around us. In industries like insurance and financial services, social is fundamentally changing the way agents and advisers connect with their clients to discuss critical financial decisions.

But as rapid as these changes are, they are nothing compared to how social is changing consumer segments like fashion and retail.

In my time, to see and be seen you hung out in the food court and the video arcade. But now, just as everything from Fruit ninja to fruit delivery has moved to a smartphone, so too hanging out and talking fashion has moved from the malls to phones and social networks.

This is having a profound effect on traditional (decidedly non-social) retailers:

 

The changing shopping patterns in what Piper Jaffray Cos. estimates is a $30 billion market are providing fertile ground for upstarts such as Brandy Melville USA, which relies more on Instagram followers than television ads. They’re also causing a drain from the established chains that have been slow to turn away from their expansive stores and uniform, all-American style that worked so well for so long.

“Everything gets old,” Allen Adamson, a managing director at Landor Associates, a San Francisco-based brand consulting firm, said in an interview. “They stayed on their game, but the market shifted.”

Teens Flee Abercrombie for Upstarts as Phones Top Malls – Bloomberg.

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