You can now do a lot more than just ‘like’ a brand on Facebook. Starting today, you can buy their stock.
The parent company of Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Jack Spade, and Lucky Brand, Fifth & Pacific Cos (formerly Liz Claiborne) just launched a new initiative–the first of it’s kind–that allows customers and fans to buy stocks in the company directly from their brands’ Facebook pages, the Boston Herald is reporting.
And you don’t need to be a millionaire or financial wiz to get in on the action either–Stocks can be purchased fee-free with just a few clicks of the mouse for as little as $10. Customers can also set up payments in pre-set monthly increments of $10, $25 or $50 with a debit card, and for those with a little more money in their pockets, one-time investments of up to $2,500 will be allowed.
The new method, dubbed as the world’s first “customer stock ownership plan,” or CSOP, was made possible by a partnership between Fifth & Pacific and San Francisco startup Loyal3, who took three years to develop the platform.
“It allows consumers to become more deeply engaged with some of the brands they love,” Loyal3 CEO Barry Schneider said. “There is nothing more loyalizing than ownership.” Indeed a recent study conducted by Boston-based Bain & Co. and Opinion Research Corp. found that consumer-owners spent more, referred more and visited more on average than ordinary consumers.
Schneider also noted that the new platform gives everyday consumers the same advantages that institutions have enjoyed for some time. “Imagine everyday people having access to IPOs (initial public offerings) at the same price as the institutions, with no favoritism regarding participation or share allocation whatsoever,” he said. “We are truly democratizing the markets.”
For Fifth & Pacific, it offers a unique way to learn about and create more loyalty among their customer. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company’s CEO Bill McComb said the program “makes it easy for the people that love our brands to get more deeply engaged with us, and we see this as a way of being even closer to our customer–which is a priority for us.”
Indeed, upon visiting one of their brands’ Facebook pages, you can see that they’re marketing the new feature as a great way to buy into the brand’s image and lifestyle–as opposed to, say, a lucrative and serious financial decision. The stocks are advertised in the same way as the label’s other products: With bright colors, clever slogans and perfectly dressed models, that would not look out of place in a campaign for a new line of handbags or perfume. The marketing method, along with the easily accessible buying platform, will no doubt reach a new fashion-minded consumer that perhaps has been too intimidated to purchase stocks the old fashioned way. Of course, it’s still too early to tell.
Now the only questions that remain are: Do you think other brands will follow suit? And, more importantly, will you be buying?