Social Commerce

Made by Facebook Campaign Turns Converse Fans Into Retailers

You have probably seen apps on websites that allow users to design their own car, virtually try on clothes or select fabrics for covering furniture. Shoe retailer Converse is bringing that same experience to Facebook with its Made by Facebook app, which is part of the brand’s web-based Create campaign.

Created by interactive agencies Anomaly and R/GA, the app – which has yet to go live so far as I can tell – will allow Facebook fans to design their own Converse tennis shoe, sell them to friends and even open their own storefronts.

Turning Converse tennis shoes into art has become a popular pastime. Its canvas transforms into a tabula rasa from which creativity can flow. The instructional wiki eHow even has an article on how to paint the shoes. Not only that, Converse shoes hand-painted by indigenous artisans from the mountains of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca are on display at a Mexican City museum.

With its Create campaign, Converse co-opted the idea and, for $75, shoppers can have a pair of their very own, personally-designed shoes. If inspiration is needed, Converse supplies that, too, with examples of shoes created by other customers.

On his rubbishcorp blog, Anomaly Creative Director Nathan Cooper said this: “A while back I got to thinking about how rubbish is was that companies were doing ‘social shopping’ by basically dropping a shop onto Facebook. Most of these stores were totally missing the point and potential of ‘social shopping’ by not really bothering to engage people on Facebook as possible sales people for their brand.”

“Converse has some 40,000,000+ Facebook friends, a lot of which feel very passionate about the brand,” Cooper added. “So what if you were to enable people to sell the shoes they design to their mates on Facebook in return for stuff, like free shoes? What if you enabled people to open their own storefront on Converse’s Facebook page? What if you turned the fans of a brand into the retailers?”

Look at the dynamics to which Cooper made reference:

Fans sell shoes they design. This reminds me of a trend pioneered years ago by T-shirt maker Threadless when the company opted to only manufacture shirts designed by fans. It’s crowd-sourced commerce.

Reward fans with free stuff. What better way to incentivize fans to participate in the campaign than by giving them a free pair of shoes. It’s an example of the reciprocity rule of thumb I talked about in a previous post.

Turn fans into retailers. Enable fans to become the salesforce. This consumer-to-consumer mentality is a chief driver behind the growing success of social shopping.

So far, I’ve found no date as to when the campaign is scheduled to go live. Currently, the brand is recruiting fans to participlate, something you can do (provided you live in the US or UK) by completing a form on the Facebook app.

Conver Made by Facebook app allows fans to design their own tennis shoe.

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