How Social Media is Changing The Way You Shop

Is there any sector of life that social media hasn't touched? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all changed the ways in which we communicate, how we get our news, and now, according to a recent survey from NetBase, how we shop. The survey, which is part of the larger study titled "Social Channels of Influence in the Fashion Industry: A Consumer Study," identified two different shoppers: Fashionistas and social shoppers. The former agreed with the statement "Fashion and beauty are extremely import to me," while the latter identified with the statement "The brands are products my friends use influence my own purchase decisions." Basically, fashionistas are the ones pouring over Vogue, stalking Fashion Week, and wearing the latest trends the moment they hit stores, while social shoppers are asking their fashionista friends what they should buy for fall.

Both fashionistas and social shoppers are highly influenced by social media, but in entirely different ways. Fashionistas are more likely to use fashion blogs and message boards as their top source of inspiration. Social shoppers are more likely to be influenced by Facebook. Both groups are influenced by Pinterest and Instagram.

For fashionistas, an enthusiasm for fashion stems from the self. They're more interested in taking a risk with clothing in an effort to find their personal style. It makes sense why fashionistas would be more likely to get inspiration from fashion blogs, rather than their friends. Just a few years ago it was unclear as to what fashion bloggers role in the fashion industry would become. Recently, though, it’s become clear that fashion blogging is not just a passing trend. Fashion bloggers are a major player in the industry, sitting front row at fashion week, getting book deals, and, most recently, nabbing a spot on Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List. Fashionistas aren't concerned about what their friends are wearing. They're concerned about what the most interesting and creative people in fashion are wearing, and will make purchases based off those people. In contrast to fashionistas, social shoppers are far less likely to take a fashion risk and more much more likely to wear whatever their friends are wearing.

It’s an interesting time in the fashion industry. Companies have more resources at their fingertips than ever before, but how do they take advantage of those seemingly infinite materials? Understanding how to target at both fashionistas and social shoppers at the same time is the first step. There is perhaps no better example in recent memory than Oscar de la Renta releasing his Fall 2013 campaign via Instagram. Oscar de la Renta is one of the most coveted and highly respected designers in high-fashion. His brand already appears to fashionistas, but releasing the campaign on Instagram opened his designs up to social shoppers. Social media allows for brands to appeal to both kind of shoppers at the same time. Only those who can figure out how to do so successfully will end up on top.