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Social eCommerce platforms are changing the fashion industry

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 17/12/2015 Jake Newfield

With the introduction of online companies like apliiq and custom ink, the fashion industry is very different today than it was ten years ago. Crowdfunding eCommerce platforms like Viralstyle have made marketing and selling clothes intrinsically different and new for consumers and distributors.
These changes have provided a wealth of benefits for buyers and sellers, and have opened up opportunities and options for both parties. The possibilities of customizability and choice have been immensely broadened for clothing buyers, while clothing sellers and distributors are able to have an easier, more direct route for finding the right customers.
For many reasons, social commerce platforms are revolutionizing the fashion industry. A few of the impacts include the production of clothes, and the availability and marketability of products. To understand the impacts, it is helpful to understand the way that the industry has functioned historically.

The way clothes are made today is vastly different from the way they used to be. Most clothes today are made from cotton, which occurs during a process in which mature cotton balls are harvested and placed in a machine that removes the cotton and seeds and transforms into usable material. While machines largely automate the process of clothing production, there are still many procedures that require handwork.
The procedure depends largely on the location and format in which the clothing is being produced. Traditional manufacturing in China has provided a large number of benefits for local clothing distributors. It offers them the ability to outsource the labor, thus producing the same clothing at cheaper costs.
Recently, local manufacturing has been revisited as a method to mass-produce clothing. Local manufacturing ensures higher product quality, and enables the clothing producer to retain clear communication between their workers and their own vision. Depending on the individual goals of the distributor, both forms of production can be considered. Most recently, social media sources like Facebook have been utilized as vehicles for selling clothing.
New platforms are reshaping the way people buy and sell clothing. Using their marketing tools to tap into social media, users are able to create ads and integrate email campaigns to their lists. Earlier, consumers had to choose from a limited selection in store and online, and now these new platforms offer almost unlimited options.
By introducing personal customization, the buyer doesn't have to choose between a preset list of options; he can create the item that he is looking for using the platform's customization. In this sense, social commerce platforms empower the buyer to become their own designer. While Viralstyle doesn't make the clothing themselves, they are able to buy clothing from a supplier and print them here in the US, readily available for the customer.
Crowdfunding allows us to determine the real price of the item, without any additional brand value. This new way of determining value is beneficial for both consumers and sellers. Brand value has ultimately provided to be a distraction to true value, in the past.
When consumers have evaluated clothing quality, they took into consideration the brand of the clothing. Unfortunately for the consumer, brand name has little to no relevance when it comes to the intrinsic value of the clothing. In other words, consumers were taking into consideration the brand of the item when weighing out the value of the item, despite the fact that brand name did not add any additional value. By removing the brand, consumers are able to obtain a more realistic and genuine value of the clothing item, without being distracted by the tacit marketing of the brand. This signifies a power shift from brands to consumers.

But why are new social eCommerce platforms better when compared to more traditional methods of manufacturing, selling and shipping?
"Our clients get to tap into our trusted network of suppliers and printers, and get to take advantage of the low base cost. Our clients receive brand level margins without having to do any of the legwork," said the CEO and founder Tom Bell.
Then, once you sell a product, Viralstyle jumps into action. We handle the production, fulfillment, and customer service of your products, while our sellers collect their profit from a successful campaign. Viral style has no print minimum, so whether it's 1 product or 1000, we still ship out the highest quality products."
By reducing cost and risk while guaranteeing high quality, Bell hopes to assist brand creators in achieving their dreams. The luxury of having access to an existing network of printers and suppliers enables a buyer to have more options at lower cost than they traditionally would.
For those who want to create their own line of clothing but don't have access to the resources or funding to do it on their own, Viralstyle's model is based around savvy entrepreneurs who use Facebook targeting to market to specific individuals. Soon, it will be a platform for people to create their own clothing.
Today, new social commerce sites are fundamentally changing the shape of the entire industry, and will drastically alter the way in which we buy and sell clothing in the coming years.

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