Site Offers Biggest Discounts to More Sociable Shoppers

Discussion
Mar 06, 2012

Whoever said that tweets don’t pay? Volga Verdi, a fashion brand focused on “superbright clothing,” has taken a unique approach to driving sales and getting the word out about its products by offering discounts to shoppers based on the number of friends and followers they have on sites such as Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Kohtakte, Lookbook.nu, Twitter, tumblr, Vimeo, YouTube and more.

According to Springwise, shoppers get discounts listed on the site by following Volga Verdi on one of the social media platforms, sending out a “prespecified message” and then emailing the brand to confirm their participation. Volga Verdi then sends them a code to get the deal.

Discounts, according to the Volga Verdi site, can go as high as 50 percent off merchandise. The company’s fashions were “conceived as a source of unexpected and bright clothing pieces for progressive fashion-crowd, including hip & club public, style-geeks, people with an urge for movement, evolvement, or anybody else looking to escape from greyness and plunge into vibrant color joy.”

Discussion Questions: What do you think of Volga Verdi’s approach to driving awareness and sales using social media? Does this have applications for other, perhaps much larger, brands and retailers?

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14 Comments on "Site Offers Biggest Discounts to More Sociable Shoppers"

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Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

3 hoops for customers to have to go through to get the deal by spamming your friends. Stupid. It’s a T-shirt company.

Liz Crawford
BrainTrust

Brand advocacy, word-of-mouth, earned media — whatever you want to call it — is the wave of the future. Every consumer has the ability to reach hundreds, even tens of thousands of peers. That sets today’s word-of-mouth buzz apart from talking over the fence. Give the consumer the tools to advocate and stand back!

David Dorf
BrainTrust

The site is certainly unique, although I’m not sure it will pay off. I like the concept of rewarding customers for passing the word. Snatter tried to reward customers with discounts if they re-tweeted deals and even more if those deals were redeemed. Amazon does something similar by temporarily taking control of your Twitter account (scary) so they can push music deals. It’s the electronic equivalent of “friends and family” deals. It can’t hurt to try.

W. Frank Dell II
BrainTrust

Early on we were sold the bill of goods that it was eyeballs as the internet advertising measure of choice, like impressions as the measure for television commercials. Fact is, we learned that unless the eyeballs or impressions are the target consumers, it is a waste of time and money. Having a large number of internet friends means nothing. A follower can easily have more friends than a leader or decision driver. It may work in a small universe, but will fail over time.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Here we have yet another company that has artificially inflated prices to Brobdingnagian levels ($40 for a tee shirt? Really?) and then wants customers to jump through hoops to get a “discount” on that merchandise. Where do these ideas come from?

Paul Lakeman
Guest
Paul Lakeman
5 years 20 days ago

I don’t I like this; seems like bribery. If I want to big up a brand or business that I really like, I don’t need to be bribed. Pre-specified message! No way — I say what I want to say. A shill, plant or stooge is a person who helps a person or organization without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with that person or organization! (Wikipedia) If a brand needs to pay people to talk about them, then to me it says they have nothing decent to talk about. I find this vulgar rather than volga. Who do they think they are fooling?

gordon arnold
Guest
5 years 20 days ago

My concern for this effort is not so obvious. Could it be that they are buying into a market that has little or no capability for return on investment? It is my observation that the participants in social media venues with the most friends need a lot of time to keep and maintain the coveted friends list. This time is available simply because they are at the present unemployed, or only working part time. This sort of prospect will be low yielding for maintainable upscale sales.

Paul lakeman
Guest
Paul lakeman
5 years 20 days ago

What a poor example of a company trying to leverage social media. Start by charging more than the product should be, then offer a discount — only if you say what we want you to say to your friends. Progressive fashion crowd vibrant color joy! Dream on.

Doug Fleener
BrainTrust

Great … now my friends and family can spam me on Facebook, Twitter, etc. There’s a huge difference between authentic advocacy and bribery, and it is pretty clear what this one is.

On the flip side, and as much as it pains me to say this, but it is a pretty innovative way to get your name out in front of a lot of people. I just don’t think it will have much long-term value.

Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

The instant poll says it all. It is not the number of friends/connections you have on social media sites. It is the value those friends see in being connected to you. If those friends felt the only reason you told them about something was to get a discount they would not value you as a person to respect.

This promotion will fail and fail miserably.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

The general consensus here: Overpriced tee shirts and spam! Not hardly a good use of social!

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
5 years 20 days ago

I can hardly wait to “plunge into vibrant color joy.” Whoever wrote this copy also translated the instruction manuals for my Sony electronics, I’m guessing.

But, Volga Verdi got us and several media outlets to talk about them. And although we haven’t seen any results of the promotion yet, I’m betting that one of their marketing objectives was to increase traffic to their website. I visited the site and you probably did, too.

Jerry Gelsomino
BrainTrust

I expect this will open new doors for retailers. But what privacies are being violated by customers giving away friends’ information to a third party?

Ronnie Perchik
Guest
Ronnie Perchik
5 years 13 days ago

How did the campaign do? It’s definitely an intriguing attempt, and marketers all over are testing out the waters in this very way. Some campaigns succeed by building awareness and ultimately ROI; some fail.

I think there is a fine line with a campaign like this. It’s pretty blatant to me: Like us and we’ll give you some dough. Social Media rewards can, at times, be too unashamed, and as a result, they will immediately turn consumers off.

Overall, yes this approach definitely has applications for other brands and retailers. And actually, I think it’s important to delve into this space, because most likely your competitors are. But because social media is so sensitive, and it’s so easy to overstep your boundary as a brand, the strategy/tactics must be well-thought out, targeted, and implemented properly.

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