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.