Major retailers have all rushed to social networking, with major initiatives in Twitter, Facebook, and lots of other social media outlets. Their ads are everywhere and they continue to attempt to engage potential customers on a one-to-one basis.
The New York Times reports that overall back to school sales are down, with one reason apparently being that students are opting to wait and see what their classmates are wearing and what kind of bookbags to carry, before making purchasing decisions themselves.
This is “real” social networking and is something that simply is not available to a retailers. There is no way to for a department store to leverage this “wait and see” attitude and it has the potential to seriously hurt any store or chain that had to decide months ago what would be in the stores when back to school shopping began.
In a struggling economy that is heavily dependent on consumer buying habits, the idea of students and parents making sure that they “get it right” the first time may further stall attempts at recovery.