SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KCBS) – Back to school shopping season is still in full swing, with retailers pulling out all the stops to get consumers into their stores.

Young shoppers appear to be giving some brands a boost with a relatively new phenomenon – filming and posting “haul videos” online.

It’s a fairly simple system: a teenage shopper returns from an outing with new clothes, accessories or makeup, videotapes his or her “haul” and posts the video online.

“They’ve kind of reached fever pitch lately,” commented Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing at San Francisco’s Golden Gate University. “The reason it’s successful is because it’s not the manufacturer or the retailer saying this is a great product, it’s an actual user saying this is a great product. And the really successful gals that do this, they have a large following base and they’re trusted.”

So trusted, in fact, that some of the nation’s top retailers are taking notice and giving some of the most-watched haul video posters stipends to purchase items in their stores, hoping they will provide positive reviews of their products online.

“Retailers in general and manufacturers are trying to get close to and connected to consumers, they’re using social media of all kinds,” Yarrow offered. “It just makes sense and it’s predictable that they would want to use this vehicle as well.”


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