Many of us are very proud and think we’re pretty savvy now that we’re on Facebook, MySpace, StartUp Nation, and send out a Tweet or two a day. That’s great, but how about creating your very own online community or social network? Companies such as Juicy Couture, St. John, Sears & Kmart, as well as Wet Seal Inc. are doing just that, reported Cate T. Corcoran of Women’s Wear Daily (the Apparel Industry trade newspaper). The interactivity of each website varies from just being able to create a profile and rate virtual outfits to a full fledged social network as St. John is planning to launch next year.
The benefits of creating an online community for your brand are numerous, particularly the ability to communicate openly with your customers and get their feedback on your products and services on a daily basis. Wet Seal Inc. has seen a 10 percent increase in site revenue since the launch of its’ fashion community. Sears and Kmart cut their delivery time to Japan from three to four months to two to three weeks based on advice offered by a customer living in Japan.
You may be thinking, well that’s great but I was just about able to get my website up and running. How in the world would I be able to create an online community?? Well, thanks to Ning now you can. Ning is a website where users can create their own social network for anything. The creation of your network is very straight forward, virtually as easy as setting up any other social network profile. Users have the ability to add a blog, forums, chat, videos, photos and it’s all driven by you, initially. Hopefully, then your users will take over and you can take part in the discussion. What a great tool to facilitate an open dialogue with your customers!