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Alexandra Moritz

Social Retailing and the Image: The Institutional and Rhetorical Aspects of Social Media in the Retail World 


In the past twenty years there has been a shift: whereas technology was the primary source of innovation and strategic advantage in the twentieth century, information is becoming the key ingredient for success in the twenty-first century. The Internet has developed into a mechanism for information dissemination and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic location. This movement has evolved as businesses shift from the real time market to the digital market. E-commerce has brought down many barriers, giving consumers an equal playing ground. 

We are now presented with a “pictorial” web. I have linked its progression in relation to the technological progression of e-commerce. With this transformation we have entered into a period that I have come to term as “social retailing.” This term encompasses the idea that retailers see social media, essentially the new form of catalogues and magazines, as a place from which they can increase sales. This development of social media in alignment with e-commerce has presented the realization that the use of the smartphone, tablet and computer is an important and essential component to a consumer’s lifestyle. My research engages the question: how do companies use the visual to encourage purchasing, in the age of “social retailing?”  


Sector B: Art and Culture of SeeingAdvisers: Joseph Turow (COMM) | Ian Verstegen (VLST)