When Internet viral sensations turn into major sales
Over the past few days, a debate over the color of a particular dress has sparked much interest on social media platforms across the globe. It all started when a Tumblr user asked Internet denizens to identify the color of the dress. The poor quality of the smartphone snapshot resulted in a distorted image of a dress that some people believed was white and gold, while others saw black and blue.
After much debate, social media enthusiasts managed to identify the dress and discovered it was indeed black and blue. But the viral nature of the debate had another effect as well – all of a sudden, the article of clothing had piqued the interest of buyers. Internet Retailer reported that people were selling the dress for as much as $2,900 on eBay, while fashion brand and the original manufacturer of the dress, Roman Originals, saw a strong spike in demand.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic about how well the dress has been received by the world,” Roman Originals creative manager Ian Johnson told the news source. “At the moment we’re basing our sales estimates against Black Friday, and it’s looking as if we’re going to beat even our best day.”
Retailers have long been aware of social media and its importance to the shopping experience. The activity in itself has always been a social experience – people go with their friends to malls and stores – so it only makes sense for this social aspect to translate to the Internet as well. While merchants may not be able to manufacture the next internet viral sensation, they can at least capitalize on trends in the social sphere by implementing social features into the online shopping experience.