Want to set up a fashion store selling top labels such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Gap, Barneys New York, Juicy Couture, Banana Republic, Tory Burch and TopShop? Well now you can.
The Sugar Inc. blog network (ShopStyle, PopSugar, FabSugar, BellaSugar) targeting 18-40 women, has just partnered with leading fashion brands to launch a Facebook-based game app, pitched as a ‘FarmVille of shopping’, called Retail Therapy (app, site), where you set up and manage your own virtual store (a bit like the Fashion World and Mall World Facebook apps, but with heels).
The idea is simple and familiar; manage inventory from in-season fashion items, and build your clientele. Upgrade your retail store with Facebook Credits that you win, earn or pay for – and build the best store in Facebook.
What’s different about Retail Therapy are the brand partnerships, which effectively transform the Facebook game into a vehicle for in-game advertising, and a Facebook promotional platfrom for exclusives, scoops and promotions for brand fans. What would be really interesting is if the game evolved to include a social affiliate program – whereby visitors to friends stores could actually purchase items for sale – and the store owner receive an affiliate commission.
TechCrunch has posted a video interview (below) with PopSugar’s CEO Brian Sugar – and in an accompanying post suggests that PopSugar, a media company, may have its work cut out to take on the big boys Zynga and IMVU – if it is looking to evolve into a games company.
But virtual social commerce is an interesting twist on social commerce – with many marketing opportunities, and if you are a fashion brand, it’s perhaps worth investigating. And for non-fashion retail brands too, there’s the opportunity to set up your own Facebook game for in-game advertising and promotions – perhaps a virtual social commerce game for your category…
Now excuse me, please, I have a delivery of Banana Republic Cotton Military Jackets to see to.
Retail Therapy Promotional Video
TechCrunch Interview with Brian Sugar