Oscar de la Renta unveils Facebook commerce

Companies have long realized Facebook’s potential to promote their brands, with all and sundry hawking their products through the social media site in one form or another. But now, it has even further commercial possibilities. Targeting its 238,000 fans, Oscar de la Renta has just become the first-ever high-end label to boast a Facebook commerce effort that is available completely on the social media website, reported WWD.

In partnership with social commerce company 8th Bridge, the fashion house launched a Facebook shopping opportunity today, offering the new $65 Esprit d’Oscar perfume ring exhibited in its Spring 2012.

While F-commerce elements have been witnessed before, Oscar de la Renta is the first to provide an entire shopping transaction, from start to finish, that is completely contained on the site, even, if preferred, without straying from the newsfeed.

“It’s an experiment for us and it’s an experience that won’t be limited to just this ring. Over the next six months, we have plans to consistently introduce new products over Facebook,” Oscar de la Renta’s CEO Alex Bolen said to WWD. “The Facebook community is obviously massive, huge and [continuously] growing, and to be able to communicate effectively and to engage the community surrounding our brand is a hugely important objective. I feel confident that if we can engage people, they will become customers whether it’s today, tomorrow or in the future.”

The biggest challenge to date, according to Bolen, has been ensuring authenticity and appropriateness while still grabbing the attention of the Facebook audience. Since not all strategies will bear fruit, the key will be collection data and responding to it.

“Increasingly for us, it’s not so much about numbers but developing evangelists and engaging people that are real brand ambassadors. We want to echo about Oscar around the Internet, and we want to find fans and really make sure they are deeply engaged, and ultimately – [although it’s] a little bit up in the air, we want them to be customers. Everything we do is oriented towards business, but the first thing we need to do is get people engaged, and then we will find out how best to commercialize this engagement,” Bolen said.

Exclusive offerings on Facebook, such as Diane von Furstenberg’s Wrap of the Month, along with inside previews and personalized goods – think Longchamp’s design a Le Pliage bag application – are the perfect way to engage consumers and stay abreast of the trends, said Maureen Mullen, director of research and advisory at Luxury Lab, or L2 Think Tank.

Mullen reports Bulgari unveiled F-commerce efforts in May, offering jewelry priced $12,000 and higher. A short three weeks later, the company pulled it. Chanel briefly launched a pre-release Facebook-commerce option for Rouge Coco Shine in April. But in both instances, customers had to leave the site for checkout, although the browsing and shopping occurred on Facebook.

Oscar de la Renta already knew firsthand how successful Facebook promos can be in increasing its numbers of fans. When celebrating the unveiling of its fragrance Esprit d’Oscar early April, the luxury label’s “likes” rose 40 percent in just one week, when users took a feedback survey and “liked” the page to receive a sample of the scent.

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LadyLUX via Oscar de la Renta

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