Facebook shoppingIf the racks of clothes at C&A's Brazilian stores could talk, they'd say, "You like me! You really like me!"

The international fashion chain is testing the power of Facebook (FB) to prompt in store purchases with hangers that digitally display the number of "likes" an item racks up on the social network, in real time.

The retailer is betting that more "likes" will mean greater sales of an item -- but will they?

"There hasn't really been research yet measuring the value of a 'like' in-store, since this is such a new area for marketing," Krista Garcia, an analyst with digital market research firm eMarketer, tells DailyFinance.

But the value of "likes" on Facebook itself might offer a clue.

Although figures vary, a new study by Imbue Marketing has "determined that a 'like' is worth $8, and a share on Facebook is worth even more, at $14," she says.

While the jury is still out on if retailers can meaningfully monetize their Facebook pages to drive product sales -- either online or in their brick-and-mortar stores -- marketers are clearly seeing the growing influence of peer opinions on social networks.

Retailers and consumer products companies, meanwhile, are recognizing that traditional advertising must now compete with a modern-day version of word of mouth: A thumbs up for a product from a peer on a social network -- be it a Facebook like, or a positive comment from a stylish shopper on a fashion blog -- can carry more weight than a store advertisement or promotion, marketers say.

So in theory, a popular fashion item "like"-wise, as measured by C&A's Facebook-connected hangers, could translate into bigger store sales for the chain.

"Most customers are followers, and if they see other people like a product, it will influence their purchase decision," commented Ed Dunn, founder of Stealth Operation, on RetailWire's online forum on the topic. "I don't know if the hanger is the best touch point for this information, but this type of information will increase sales due to the social science at play with customers who want to be in the in-crowd."

Would a high tally of Facebook “likes” for a product featured in a store encourage you to buy it?
Yes1 (25.0%)
Maybe1 (25.0%)
No1 (25.0%)
It would discourage my purchase1 (25.0%)
And U.S. retailers, which often adopt merchandising innovations from forward-thinking international merchants, could follow C&A's lead, Garcia says.

So far, most retailers attempting to integrate Facebook with their in-store marketing "haven't moved beyond signage that advertises their Facebook page, posting QR codes and encouraging customers to 'like' them," she says.

Macy's (M) latest Facebook retail experiment goes a little further. The department store's Magic Fitting Room allows shoppers to try on clothes virtually in a fitting room "with a screen that superimposes clothing on their reflection," Garcia says. "The looks shoppers put together can be posted to Facebook to share with friends."

"Having a shopper 'like' you can be the first step in a relationship. There's no doubt about that," Wendy Liebmann, CEO and chief shopper of WSL Strategic Retail, a marketing consulting firm that works with manufacturers and retailers, tells DailyFinance. However, for many shoppers, that's not enough, she says.

"Shoppers tell us they expect to actually get something for liking you. That means an offer, a discount, something special. Otherwise, you're just one more 'like' in an ever-growing sea of 'likes.'"

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Nikki Smith

That is awesome,

June 12 2012 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That is ridiculous thing happened.

June 12 2012 at 4:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It does nothing to solve the problem of being too long and going into the sleeves, leaving a hump at the top of the sweater sleeve. Buy children's hangers. Much easier solution.

June 05 2012 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yuck, what an awful idea. I don't belong to Facebook for a good reason--and businesses that pander to Facebook are annoying as hell. Yo, HuffPo, you listening?

June 05 2012 at 3:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
H.L. Le Chatelier

"Although figures vary, a new study by Imbue Marketing has "determined that a 'like' is worth $8, and a share on Facebook is worth even more, at $14," she says."

First, credit where credit is due: Imbue didn't do the study, they just copied the results of ChompOn. But secondly, and more importantly, if you figure that a like or share influences a customer's propensity to buy, then it doesn't make sense to measure its effects in raw dollars since different products have different prices. If one like on facebook corresponds to 1 extra sale of a bag of M&Ms, that's only a value of $1 or so. But if it increases the likelihood of purchasing a $100 jacket by 10%, that's worth $10 in aggregate. Saying that it works out to a flat value of $8 per like is similar to saying that Americans make $32000 a year, since that's the median personal income.

June 05 2012 at 3:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow what a waste of technology.

June 05 2012 at 3:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well this won't work for me, 95% of what I see in the clothing shops is hideous. I don't see one in a hundred women walking through the mall who looks well groomed and attractively dressed. I'd never take a friend with me shopping. I don't want or need anyone else's input. If women would just wake up and LOOK around them and honestly evaluate what "fashion" nonsense we're being fed, there would have to be a major change in the clothing industry,

Meanwhile we're condemned to ugly colors, sleazy rayon fabrics, hideous prints and the worst tailoring imaginable. I could drape a sheet around me with a better fit that the dresses with sagging armpits, bumpy and unnecessary shoulderpads, horrid cheap narrow hems and necklines which gape and show bra straps.

Okay I can opt for a designer label ... but hey .... I'm a working gal and can't afford thousands for an outfit. How about a simple dress, properly cut in a nice color and made with some fabric which isn't rayon. No shoulder pads and a nicely finished neckline. Too much to ask?

I won't be "liking" very many things no matter how many silly gimmicks the stores attach to those hangers.

June 05 2012 at 2:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

that was a lame video. who thought that up must have nothing better to do.

June 05 2012 at 12:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Scam. Scam. manipulate those numbers from FaceBook. Hire drones to like an item over and over again. Maybe you'll fool the Fox News crowd.

June 05 2012 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to david68574's comment

that's all fine and good but I don't think that there's a "Fox News crowd" in Brazil.
Unlike the US, Brazil is not destroying itself with these silly divisions between The "Fox News Crowd" and the bleeding heart liberals

June 05 2012 at 12:15 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

FOx News appreciates you continuely watching their channel.

June 05 2012 at 12:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is only a matter of time until stores find ways to fake those "Like" numbers. People will be buying last year's leftover stock because they think people "Like" it.

June 04 2012 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply