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Barbara Farfan

Reality Show Fashion Star Boosts Macy's Sales, Builds H&M Brand Image, Busts Saks Customer Satisfaction and Misses Its Own Potential for Shopper-Viewer Engagement (M, SKS)

By March 28, 2012

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Last night's episode of the reality competition show Fashion Star on NBC was a great example of both the positive and negative potential in this new platform for fast fashion and broadcast retailing. In one short hour of television, Macy's (M) boosted its retail sales, H&M built its brand image, Saks (SKS) busted its customer satisfaction, and the show's producers missed the potential for both audience and customer engagement. Now that's an hour of reality.

The Macy's buyer, Caprice Willard, was the most active bidder and buyer of the night, and judging from the comments posted in social media, Caprice's choices turned into Macy's sales. Here's some of the publicity that Macy's, couldn't have begged, borrowed, or bought in the Twittersphere...

@AgentMom - Best dressed list! All three colors of Ross Bennett shorts headed my way from Macy's #fashionstar

@_AMATO - Looks like someones going to macy's tmrrw! Not only is there a sale. But those really cute shorts are in stores tmrrw as well #fashionstar

@dejabelle6 - So I am waiting to buy those trouser shorts at Macy's online. Thanks. #fashionstar

Of course if you're going to participate in this type of interactive shopping format, you've got to be prepared for the twiticisms too. When Fashion Star shopper-viewers aren't happy, they're not afraid to tweet the whole world about it. Last night Saks went from hero to zero at the speed of social media.

When Caprice from Macy's and Terron Schaefer from Saks got in a bidding war for the most popular design of the night from Orly Shani, shopper-viewers got equally excited about the dresses they were seeing on the runway. But after Saks successfully snagged the design from Macy's, shopper-viewers were hugely disappointed at both the Saks changes to the design and the Saks price point. Some examples of the twiticism that Saks got last night are...

‪@MarissajustMay‬ - Will @saks quit buying @orlyshani's designs! I'd love to be able to afford her amazing pieces. sadly Saks ruins that idea #FashionStar

@jennfalik - Yes I waited up to buy sheath dress at Saks from #NBCFashionStar but from runway to retail, design is watered down. #sad"

‪@DreamandDress‬ - Was excited to buy Orly's Saks dress but they totally changed the color/fabric&draped back much preferred the original design!

‪@PatriciaSevern‬ - The winning dress on TV is several inches longer, has contrast lined pockets and is NOT jersey. That Suks Fifth Avenue! #fashionstar

It will be interesting to see how or if Saks responds to this negative feedback. The nature of the show is interaction. So if Saks wants to truly engage with the show's viewers and the potential Saks customers who clicked away online after being disappointed by the Saks execution of the Orly Shani design, then @saks should be tip-tap-tweeting some kind of reply tomorrow.

One other thread of disappointment...

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March 28, 2012 at 11:34 am
(1) Pam says:

It’s like I wrote this myself! Was saying exactly this to a friend last night. Less mentors more clothes and designers. Also Saks needs to quit buying items only to bastardize the hell out of them and not in a better way. Everything they have bought and produced for sale is either almost unreconizable from the design we saw on tv or it’s similar but the colors/style are far uglier than the original item

March 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm
(2) Kay says:

I was so excited about Orly’s color blocking dress last night on Fashion Star and decided to go on line to order from Saks 5th, only to discover they had changed the style completely!!! Now it looks just plain, like a simple sheath dress. The original style had a flirtatious low cut neckline and a beautiful sexy length. If buyers such as Saks want to change the whole look, then they shouldn’t buy it. Because customers want what they saw, not what Saks thinks customers should by. It defeats the whole purpose of owning something new and cutting edge. I am gonna hop over to H & M and Macy’s.

March 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm
(3) Britt says:

I totally agree with the above coments. Saks really has a stick up their a**. What makes them think that the viewers want a completely bland version of the design they were shown on the fashion star runway? If it were my design being stripped by saks, I would be extremely upset. So infuriating!

March 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm
(4) Annie says:

Good summary. I also think Saks is doing itself disservice. I almost fell off my chair when I saw what had happened to Orly Shani dress design. And colors! She had way better colors on the runway. Another thing to notice is that I don’t think people who watch Fashion Star are Saks shoppers. So Saks ends up snatching up designs that people would happily buy at Macy’s or H&M. For another season it seems wise to drop Saks and find some other chain, why not Kohl’s? Or have some price arrangement as now Saks sells the clothes too expensive and quite frankly H&M sells them too cheap. I like Macy’s approach the best: fair price for items and always several colors of the original(!) design available.

March 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm
(5) Mallory says:

I was so disappointed about Orly’s dress and Saks turning it into something else. The dress shown on the show was NOT jersey and why is only the orange available? I contacted Saks about this and was told I could voice this disappointment at comments@saks.com. I hope others do the same! Who knows, maybe they’ll listen and start selling the original dress!

March 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm
(6) Jess says:

It is a true shame. . . I was very interested in the design that Orly shared in the show. Needless to say, I too, am very disappointed that Saks completely changed what could have been a great sell. Saks should have stepped down up against the other competitor, Macy’s, through which maybe the ORIGINAL design would have been kept and purchased by many!

April 11, 2012 at 1:53 am
(7) Julie says:

I am so sick of Saks buying up some of the cuter items and then ruining them by changing the color and design and then charging an arm and a leg. Not a fan of Sachs any longer.

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