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Instagram: Killer App for Retailers?

Forget professional product photos. One clothing brand is crowdsourcing images from customers instead.
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You can already crowdsource funding and new product ideas for your company. Why not tap the masses for a little marketing and photography help, too? 

According to a report by Mashable, clothing company Free People has asked customers to provide photographs of themselves wearing the brand's products. It's a win-win for the company: Free People gets a little free marketing from its most enthusiastic fans and it gets a bunch of product shots that may help shoppers get a better idea of how an item will fit.

Social photo crowdsourcing start-up Olapic is helping helping on the back end, curating the customers' photos from Instagram and Twitter and incorporating them onto the retailer's product pages. 

“Lots of e-commerce customers end up not buying a product because they’re not sure how the product is going to fit after they make the purchase,” José de Cabo, cofounder of Olapic, told Mashable. “It also shows they have a super hip, engaged customer base.”

Free People, an extension of the retail brand Urban Outfitters, launched the photo-sharing project Thursday, with a focus on its denim products. The company hopes to expand the live photo sharing throughout the site.

When customers purchase a denim product they will also receive a card with a hashtag on it. They are encouraged to Instagram or Tweet a picture of the product with the hashtag. The photo will also appear on a live stream at the #MyFPDenim gallery on the Free People site.

“Our #MyFPDenim gallery is a way for customers to share their passion for the brand and to highlight their personal style,” Jed Paulson, director of e-commerce and marketing for Free People, said in a press release. “We wanted to have one central gallery to see all of the unique ways our customers wear our product, as well as to allow them to interact with each other.”

IMAGE: Courtesy Company/Free People
Last updated: Jul 25, 2012




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