“We will buy and sell products via Facebook in the future”

In the early days of the Internet, there was disbelief that consumers one day would want to buy shoes on the web. A lot of huge e-commerce sites focusing successfully on selling shoes have proved the sceptics wrong. Brandos is Sweden’s largest online shoe shop and uses Twingly to connect with the (fashion) blogosphere. We had a chat with Marie Segerberg, who is Country Manager Sweden at Brandos, and asked her about the importance of blogs and Social Media for the online shoe business.

Marie Segerberg, Country Manager Sweden at Brandos

What’s the background on the Twingly blogstream integration on your product pages? When and why did you decide to make this step?
Brandos is the largest online shoe shop in Sweden and we have a lot of nice shoes that fashion bloggers write about. Bloggers are important opinion builders that affect what people buy. Twingly helps us to show what those opinion leaders think about our shoes. And that’s also a good way for us to add more product information to our site. We launched the integration in January 2010.

Can you tell us a bit about the bloggers linking to your site?
It is mostly women that blog about our shoes and they have very different taste. We offer over 18.000 shoe models, so there is a lot to choose from. Many products go out of stock during the season, at the same time new models arrive. Hence the Twingly links are spread out over many different shoe models.

How do you react when a shoe you sell gets negative reviews on blogs?
We appreciate all reviews and try to learn from them to get better. If a product gets constructive negative reviews we always check the product thoroughly to see if the reviews are correct. If so, we add/change information about the model on our site. We answer on the blog post if possible, to show that we care and to tell the readers what we have done about it. If it is just an opinion like “Ugly!” we do not act on it, people are allowed to have different taste : – )

How important is Social Media in general and the blogosphere in particular for e-commerce?
Very important. We trust our friends much more than we trust companies. What our friends say about a company or a product affects our own opinion a lot. Through Facebook we get to share our opinions with friends all the time. Bloggers are very open with their private life and as people follow them for a longer time, they unconsciously start to feel like friends. Many fashion bloggers have higher impact than fashion magazines on what people buy.

In the past, many people believed that consumers would never buy shoes online, since it’s recommended to try shoes before you buy. But it seems as if those concerns were wrong. From your experience, what’s the best way to convince consumers to buy shoes on the web?
We try to get consumers to understand that you can still try before you buy, even if you shop online. Brandos always offers free delivery and free returns, so you can order as many shoes as you want and try them at home. We have 30 days open purchase and it is easy to send them back if you do not want them.

From Brandos’ perspective, what are the next trends within e-commerce?
We have already seen fashion bloggers opening their own shops on their blogs. I think we will buy and sell products via Facebook much more in the future.

Do you personally read blogs? If so, which ones are your favourites?
I blog for Brandos.se at Skobloggen and I read a lot of blogs. I try to scan the most important Swedish blogs that are likely to cover fashion and shoes to see what they are writing about and to get inspiration.

Privately I admire blogs that show us another side of life, for example Korrespondenterna, Läkare Utan Gränser (Medecins Sans Frontiers) from the field work and Unicef’s blog.

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