Successful online retailers like Zady.com owners Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi are acting as curators and tastemakers. Their buyers trust them to go out into the world and bring back the luxurious pieces that will add to their own narratives of self.
Retailer as curator also means retailer as storyteller.
Products have history. Products have provenance.
According to The New York Times:
Stories are important to Zady’s owners. Knowing where their products come from allows them to keep tabs on the way many of their products are made. The narratives also connect consumers to other people and places, adding a personal and experiential component to a tangible good and giving it an aura of authenticity.
Say I were to consider a $425 sweater from Zady…aside from the product photography, there is this copy to consider:
Thick, soft, and 100% natural, the hand-knit Alpaca Sweater in caramel and cream is the essential holiday sweater. Industry of All Nations collaborates with a cooperative outside of La Paz, Bolivia to harvest alpaca fibers and hand-knit the sweater, keeping the beautiful natural color of the alpaca and minimizing negative impacts on the environment. Alpaca is a hollow, core fiber that is a thermal insulator while also being highly breathable and hypoallergenic, making it a sustainable and comfortable solution to cold weather dressing.
That’s product description working overtime as brand narrative. Zady’s brand voice is one that details the why and the how of a product, so I am fully informed in my decision making. This is not an off-the-rack sweater I’m considering—it’s made by a co-op in Bolivia!
In Fast Company, cognitive anthropologist Bob Deutsch argues:
The quest for success in social media marketing—including content development, influencer strategies, real-time tweeting newsrooms, etc.—will continue to be inefficient, unpredictable, or just downright ineffective, until it shifts its focus from being in a conversation with consumers to entering people’s narratives of self.
When my narrative of self tells me that I will feel better when I lay out big bucks for a handmade sweater from Bolivia that my “friends” at Zady curated for me, I am ready to push “Purchase.”
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