Fashion site Moxsie uses Twitter hashtags to engage consumers and crowd-source

The indie retailer shows followers what it’s like to be a buyer, rewards top participants, and reaps the benefit of their perspectives.

Becoming a professional buyer—that is, picking the clothes that retailers put in their stores or online catalogues—isn’t easy.

Thanks to independent clothing retail site Moxsie, becoming an amateur buyer is. All it takes is a Twitter hashtag, #buyerchat, along with some knowledge of the brand and its style to join what Julia Kung, Moxsie’s director of marketing, calls the “virtual buying team.”

“We allow them to see what the experience is like,” she says.

Through that experience, the virtual buyers and the real buyers benefit. Participants in the Twitter chat earn badges that lead to free gift cards and, perhaps, a job eventually. The professional buying team gets to see, as they meet with designers, what Moxsie’s best customers think.

It’s a mix of Twitter, Foursquare’s badges and crowd-sourcing, though Kung says crowd-sourcing might not exactly be the right term.

“The effect, I think, lasts quite a bit longer than normal crowd-sourcing would,” she says.

Kung says any company, retail or otherwise, that pulls back the proverbial curtain could see a similar response from fans who want to see that organization’s behind-the-scenes workings.

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