Customer Generated Content: Forever 21 vs. Free People

Forever 21 Campaign

This Tuesday, fast fashion retailer Forever 21 debuted their first ever social style community, 21st Street onto forever21.com. The social sharing platform is a one stop fashion source bringing together street style inspirations that can be mimicked at a Forever 21 cost.

Forever 21 21st Street

Almost immediately after visiting the site, I recognized Forever 21’s attempt at creating an experience very similar to my favorite lifestyle retailer, Free People’s,FPME. And just like FPME, Forever 21’s strategy is to use customer generated content to grow their digital identity and increase online sales.

Here’s a breakdown of the digital strategy…..

Mobilize your devoted customer base into brand content creators simply by leveraging a semi-branded hashtag, #F21xMe – giving your customers the social authority to promote your branding in an organic and individually relevant manner.

Pros for Forever 21 customers:

It really isn’t a big ask considering this is already their normal behavior on Instagram and Twitter. The difference now is that they each have an opportunity to be featured on 21st Street in their favorite outfits.

Pros for the retailer:

This strategy requires virtually zero marketing dollars and results in FREE advertising and promotion. BINGO.

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And to increase their ability to engage with their customers even further, Forever 21 has integrated other social channels to the site too. FacebookPinterestF21TV and even Google+

Free People is championing digital strategies such as this, so it’s no wonder why Forever 21 sees value in activating their own loyal following as brand ambassadors. After checking on the #F21xMe stats on Instagram, engagement is looking good for only a few hours out the gate. Check out both the FPME and21st Street sites and see the similarities for yourself. My prediction is that we’ll see Forever 21 adding features like hearting and commenting like we see on FPME. Perhaps even creating a more Pinterest look too. Which style community is your favorite?

Tweet me at @CristinaRays or drop me a note on FB with your thoughts. I’d love to hear what ya think about 21st Street!

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