November 11, 2010, 2:49 PM

Fashion site offers shoppers a chair at buyers’ meetings via Twitter

‘Buyerchat’ is Moxsie’s latest use of the Twitter social network.

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Moxsie Inc. has started to give consumers a greater say about what products the web-only fashion retailer should sell through a Twitter-based effort it calls buyerchat. The program marks the latest effort by the online retailer to use the social media service to strengthen bonds with shoppers.

The retailer quietly began the buyerchat program a month ago, says Moxsie CEO Jon Fahrner. Moxsie invites its more than 105,000 Twitter followers to observe and take part in the retailer’s buying meetings with designers, which typically take place twice a week. The idea is to turn Moxsie’s Twitter fans into what the retailer calls virtual fashion buyers, and to educate consumers about trends and designers. The retailer further hopes to encourage purchases from Moxsie.com by giving Twitter followers a sneak peek of product offerings.

“This goes way beyond the Like button,” Fahrner says, referring to the Facebook tool with which consumers can indicate what products they like the most. “We want to get shoppers involved as early as possible in the supply chain.”

Twitter followers can follow the meeting through Moxsie’s Twitter site—the buyerchat events have their own hash tags—and the meeting features pictures and videos of products under consideration. Much like a conference call, the event is moderated by a Moxsie representative. Twitter followers whose comments are deemed most helpful receive Moxsie gift certificates after the buyerchat session. Fahrner says typical gift certificates are worth $50.

The buyerchat events have produced at least one example of Twitter followers influencing an inventory decision, he says. The retailer was thinking about offering a shoe made of a wicker-like material and offered its Twitter followers a Twitter picture, or Twitpic, of the footwear. Buyerchat participants said the shoe didn’t appear comfortable enough, and appeared too mature for the typical Moxsie customer, he says.

Earlier this year, Moxsie launched a service that enables its shoppers to see Twitter messages and links related to its products. And about two months ago, the retailer said it was taking part in Twitter Tales, which are videos that Twitter films and posts on its blog to illustrate how people and organizations use Twitter to get their message out.

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