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Better business? Facebook 'likes' in real time for shoppers

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A Brazilian fashion retailer has turned to social media in an attempt to raise profit margins.

C&A. Anyone remember them? Travelling across Europe, I've never seen the high street clothing retailer. In the UK, I have only faded memories as a child of my parent taking one long look at the window and moving to another store.

It seems i'm not the only one.

Now, C&A is attempting to wrestle back some of its business acumen and popularity by harnessing the real-time data provided by social media networks -- in particular, through Facebook.

A new initiative launched by the label, called 'Fashion Like', allows shoppers to click the 'like' button on the brand's Facebook page for certain items of clothing -- and this real-time data is then collated and thrown into the physical world by being displayed on clothes racks in its stores.

Certain stores around Brazil now possess these real-time 'like' hangers. Once a person likes an item on Facebook, that data simultaneously appears in the physical world. The idea behind the scheme is to help with purchasing decisions -- but in reality, it will always come down to whether you appear like a beached whale in a shirt or an entrant in a beachwear contest, not if a bikini has gathered 673 likes through a social networking site.

Customers may not be able to make a wholly unbiased decision based on social media 'likes' considering the groups who are most likely to use this facility will be social networkers and probably belong to a certain age group, so the marketing campaign's future effectiveness is open to debate.

However, it does demonstrate one of the interesting ways in which businesses are trying to harness social media in order to benefit shoppers and profit margins alike.

Image credit: C&A

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure