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Shopping for hashtags: Snap and send back

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Keeping thousands of Instagram followers entertained with photo updates requires a versatile wardrobe at the least. For those who are considered influencers, the fashion worn in photo’s is crucial, as their unique style becomes a gateway to business opportunities and earning potential from social media. This is why the hashtag ‘outfit of the day’, #OOTD, has over 200,000,000 posts on Instagram.

Posting several photo’s a day wearing unique outfits is a costly full time job, but what happens to all the clothes worn just one time for the sake of a photo and subsequently no longer see the light of day on the camera phone?

We have long heard of stylists buying clothes and accessories for photo shoots, only to return them later, with tags fully in tact. It proved a workable strategy for stylists on a budget, and has now been adopted by Instagram and social media fashionistas, a phenomenon knowns as "Snap and Send Back."

According to a survey commissioned by the credit card company Barclaycard, nearly one in 10 UK shoppers (9 percent) admit to buying clothing only to take a photo on social media. After the “outfit of the day” makes it online, they return it back to the store. The worst culprits? Men and women aged 35 to 44, with 17 per cent revealing that they are guilty of shopping only for the #OOTD appeal - wrote the Independent earlier this week.

The study further shows men are more likely than women to return clothes after wearing them and are more embarrassed to be seen in the same outfit twice. Men are also more inclined to wear clothes without removing the price tags so they have the option to try and return them.

Snap and send back

Snap and send back is an emerging trend among Brits of wearing clothes once ‘for the hashtag moment’ before returning items. Additional Barclaycard research shows men are bigger spenders on fashion than women. Despite common assumptions, men’s spending on clothes and shoes totals 114 pounds per person each month, equating to over 300 pounds more per person than women a year.

Social media makes us curate ourselves as a brand

According to Quarzy, "the rise of social media has meant that everyone, not just celebrities, is expected to maintain and curate a personal brand. Since we’re constantly documenting our lives and posting them online for public judgement, getting caught in the same outfit more than once—which many see as a faux pas—is almost unavoidable. And the cost of all those #ootd’s adds up, making returns an understandable tactic."

"There are brands that tailor specifically to the Instagram shopper, like the uber-popular Fashion Nova. “These are clothes made for social media: meant to be worn once, maybe twice, photographed, and discarded,” Allison P. Davis wrote in her deep-dive about the company in The Cut. Another favorite of the Instagram age is Rent the Runway, which embraces the return philosophy, and lets customers rent designer clothing for a fee."

George Allardice, Head of Strategy, Barclaycard Payment Solutions said in a press release: “It’s interesting to see the social media trend further fuelling the returns culture. We know from our research that returns are having a big impact on retailers, with a huge figure of seven billion pounds a year in sales that they potentially can’t recognise.

“Retailers are adopting new processes to make returns easier as they know how important this is to customers. But to ensure shoppers are getting more wear out of their clothes - for posting on social media or for those real-life moments - retailers could think about introducing more varied photography and video content to their websites. By showing how to style items for different looks and how they will appear when worn, they could reduce the number of shoppers ‘snapping and sending back’.”

The Barclaycard survey featured 2,002 adults aged between 35 and 44. It would be interesting to see the results from the teenage demographic, who are some of the highest users and ‘snappers’ on Instagram.

Photo credit: pexels

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