Posts Tagged ‘Retailers’

Pretty in Pinterest: Beauty giant Sephora integrates pin-boards

Pretty in Pinterest: Beauty giant Sephora integrates pin-boards
Ciara Byrne for VentureBeat
Beauty retailer Sephora has just become one of the first retailers to fully integrate with digital pin-board Pinterest by adding a “Pin It” button to every one of its 14,000 products.
Sephora staffers will also highlight their favorite products on Pinterest pinboards. Following a meteoric rise, Pinterest is now the third most visited social network in the U.S. after Facebook and twitter. Given that Pinterest’s users are overwhelmingly female and Pinterest has been shown to drive considerably more revenue per click than either Twitter or Facebook, the fact that Sephora has pinned its hopes on Pinterest is perhaps unsurprising. Sephora’s sleek stores have long functioned as the cathedrals of the beauty product world. The French retailer operates more than 300 stores in the U.S. and Canada (and many more globally) and is something of a trailblazer in integrating technology into its retail experience. Last month VentureBeat reported how the retailer, having noticed the high overlap between its customers and Apple users (70 percent of visits to Sephora’s website are from iPhones) introduced iPads running a custom, in-store Sephora app into 20 stores across the U.S. The iPad application leverages the iPad’s camera functionality to create a “virtual mirror” that lets users see themselves practicing makeup application as a video of the relevant technique are played below. Shoppers can review their purchase history (to avoid shopping disasters such as buying two of the same lipstick) and product information like ingredient lists. Sephora also invested in iPod touches which can be used for mobile checkout in every store. Sephora’s website is the world’s biggest beauty store. Mobile shopping grew 300 percent on Sephora in 2011 and the company expects another 100 percent increase this year. iPad traffic was up 400 percent in Q1 2012 compared to Q1 2011.

Using Social Rewards To Monetize The Social Web

Retailers and Social Media

Social Media Rewards

Using Social Rewards To Monetize The Social Web
by  for MediaPost
Retailers deserve more from social media. Although this new tool has had a profound impact on communications and collaboration between merchants and customers, it has done little to actually drive real incremental sales for serious e-commerce companies. But this can change. There is a way retailers can use the social Web to drive meaningful sales and discover relevant metrics. However, doing so requires them to adopt a new vision –– one that is low-cost, high-impact and puts retailers squarely in the driver’s seat. This vision — my vision — is social rewards. What Are Social Rewards? The social rewards approach is simple –– and yet it’s profound, because it takes into account on a microscopic level what makes the Age of Social different. In the most basic sense, social rewards are loyalty rewards to customers — and their friends. Those last three words are extremely important: With social rewards, customers receive a reward for making an online purchase, and so does their social group. It may sound simple, but it merges the promise of the social Web with the proven value of customer rewards. And as a result, it drives real, untapped revenue. How Can Social Rewards Unlock Incremental Revenue? Right now, retailers spend millions on Facebook ads and provide customers with platforms to share purchases on social media sites. But this approach has not worked, at least financially. In fact, the “social media” portion of the marketing budget bleeds red because it is a money-loser for most merchants. As a result, many retailers have concluded that social media is merely another advertising channel or daily deal platform. But this isn’t true. The social Web –– the universe of interconnected groups online –– can unlock incredible value, if only retailers get bolder and more creative with it. At its core, the social rewards strategy involves rewarding the basic unit of this social Web –– networks of connected people –– rather than just individual customers. With this fresh approach, retailers reward customers who make a purchase and reward their network of friends –– even if the friends aren’t yet loyal customers. Doing so creates a domino effect because of this simple fact: The most accurate predictor of a person’s likelihood to buy a product or service is whether or not that person’s friends have purchased it. This fact allows merchants to increase their customer base and expand their sales pipeline with social rewards because the merchants tap a pre-defined psychographic group that already has the statistically highest chance of making a purchase: their customers’ friends. And here’s how it works: Jane Customer decides to make a purchase. The merchant, in turn, provides her with points or some other incentive to make additional purchases. But here’s the twist: the merchant also rewards Jane’s friends with points and incentives to make purchases for themselves. And what happens next is like magic: Retailers discover that Jane’s friends are now making purchases from them because her friends are taking advantage of rewards incentives they didn’t originally earn. And as a result, the merchant grows a new revenue stream and customer base — loyal social rewards customers who make purchases using group rewards. How Can Social Rewards Provide Real Metrics? But not only do retailers drive incremental sales with this approach, they can utilize social rewards to deliver genuine metrics and valuable consumer insights. And this is huge. Today, most retailers can’t articulate what relevant insights they gain from their current use of sites like Facebook and Twitter aside from the number of “likes” and “tweets” they garner. This is not enough and simply doesn’t make sense, especially considering all of the money these merchants are spending on these sites. But what’s worse is that this leaves retailers with the impression that the social web can’t drive meaningful revenue or deliver relevant sales data. It can. If merchants decide to employ a social rewards strategy, they will be empowered to define their own metrics, develop their own custom analytics and be in the driver’s seat in the social web for the first time. For example, with social rewards metrics, retailers can determine what percentage of a loyal customer’s friends make purchases after they have been offered the incentive. The merchants can also tweak discount levels and incentives to find out what it takes to drive additional sales. Any way you slice it, though, retailers who use a social rewards strategy will have real data and sales insights to work with, which is far better and more relevant than tallying “likes” and “tweets” that don’t mean anything when it comes to driving meaningful sales. What’s the Bottom Line on Social Rewards? So with social rewards, merchants now have a golden opportunity to gain insights and use new strategies to monetize the as-yet-unrealized financial potential of the social Web. They can reach potential customers who are statistically most likely to buy because their friends have already made purchases as loyal customers, and they can generate real data that can be acted upon to refine marketing approaches. This alone will do more to monetize the social Web than current strategies that merchants are employing — but to realize all of these benefits, retailers must have the courage and creativity to move beyond “like” and take the next step into the Age of Social. Let’s hope that they do.

Social is big. Video is big. E-commerce is big. But social video commerce?

Social is big. Video is big. E-commerce is big. But social video commerce? Puh-lease!

Top Social Video Commerce Tips & Stats

by Justin Foster for MediaPost I’m a natural skeptic when it comes to buzzwords like this. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to host a webinar with retailers Crutchfield and Advance Auto Parts to try and dissect this latest video trend like a seventh grader working on his first lab frog. Let’s bypass the fluff. Enjoy! 1. In aggregate, “long-tail” product videos are shared almost as often as the craziest viral sensations. A jolting reality check for creatives among us: my company found that plain vanilla “product videos” focused on the simple presentation of features and benefits of a product accounted for 48% of all videos shared among retail and consumer brands. Such a finding indicates there may be substantial untapped opportunity for brands to create a high volume of video content geared toward shoppers considering a purchase. These shoppers may choose to share videos with friends to solicit their advice and opinions on an item, rather than because the video is funny or catchy. The sample consisted of 7,000 randomly selected videos across 25 consumer brand and retail sites. 2. But video sharing behavior still accelerates rapidly when content offers emotional appeal. In the study, the top 1% of all videos accounted for 23.4% of overall sharing activity, while the top 5% of videos accounted for 52% of total shares. Such tactics, while they may work well with certain niche products, can be hard to translate to most products or brands. 3. Still, the most-shared videos generate the fewest dollars per share. The most-shared videos in a random sample of 1,000 videos across 25 consumer and retail brand sites generated $2.60 per share, while the least-shared videos generated $4.87 per share. 4. Social video distribution is key. 94% of retail and consumer brands that attended the webinar said that achieving social distribution of their videos was “somewhat important” or “important” to the company’s overall video commerce strategy, with 63% of those ranking social video distribution as “important.” Nine of the top ten brands and retailers [by shares] posted interactive videos to Facebook. Eight out of the top ten enabled sharing on the product page. Nine out of the top ten enabled sharing from a video gallery or video SEO site. 5. So if you believe your “boring” videos shouldn’t be shared, you may want to think again. The most-shared videos on product landing pages, which tended to be simple features and benefits productions lasting no more than 3 minutes, included a share button on the video player that was visible when the page rendered. Other top traits included of the most shared videos included the prominent placement of share options for Facebook, email, and Twitter. 15% of webinar attendees currently also posted their videos to Google+.

Psychology Of New Moms Fits New Media and Direct Marketing Perfectly

Psychology Of New Moms Fits Direct Marketing Perfectly by By Maryanne Conlin for MediaPost For brands that market to new moms, it’s always a changing landscape. Unlike in most businesses, consumer retention takes a backseat to enticing trial. Brands are constantly seeking new customers and, while those customers are a fairly constant demographic in many ways, the psychographics these days change rapidly as head-spinning changes in technology influence not only the way we receive information, but the way we view everything from privacy to relationships with brands. As social media and web marketing have flipped the traditional “one to many” marketing strategy on its head, the lessons of direct marketing have become important reading material for brand managers. A recent study sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association, shows just how important that is for brands marketing to new moms and, quite frankly, moms entering any new stage of child rearing. The latest generation of moms, really whether they are truly GenY digital natives or 40-something first-time moms, all know that the best place to seek out new information is online. While we have learned that consumers have become accustomed to researching products online prior to purchase, the DMA study found that 95% of new moms go the next step and seek out digital direct offers online. But a stunning 64% of new moms have also gone the next step and made a purchase via direct marketing in the past year (almost half in the last month.) While, as a marketer, these strike me as a high numbers, as a mom, this purchase behavior, seems, well, perfectly reasonable. Who among us doesn’t remember those days, after sleepless nights, when anything that seems to meet one of our needs as a new mom is a good thing and buying it right away seems even better? The psychology of new moms fits direct marketing perfectly and the numbers bear this out. Eighty-three percent of the survey’s new mom respondents are likely to opt-in product and retailer emails that use email and daily deals (like Groupon or Living Social). While the study focused on direct marketing, many of the findings provide useful information for brands targeting new moms that sell through distribution, too! Finding that 84% of new moms use Facebook was interesting, but not surprising. Learning that 72% of new moms “like” brands is a key finding. A study by, just released, found that only 45% of Facebook users “like” brands. That means a full one-third more of new moms “like” brands. And … bear with me here … I’m going to add one more study into this mix. A new study on Facebook fans and brands, finds that 56% of consumers said they are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan on Facebook. So why is the intersection of these three studies so important for brands that market to new moms? An information vacuum exacerbated by a lack of mobility (especially in those first few weeks when getting out of pajamas can be difficult) drives new moms to the web and especially to that paradise of actual social interaction, Facebook. New moms, looking for advice as they enter this alternate universe of “new mom land” are seeking advice and can find it from brands that actively and effectively use Facebook as a key marketing tool. That’s not earth shattering news, but the role that Facebook can play, with almost three-quarters of new moms primed to hear a brand’s message, may be quite a bit bigger than we ever knew.

How Moms & Retailers Interact with Social Media

moms shoppingIn the U.S., there are 75 million mothers, who influence 85 percent of household purchases. That’s about $2.1 trillion per year in spending, according to the Marketing to Moms Coalition. So what is your social media strategy for interacting with Moms and more importantly what are they buying from you? According to eMarketer, Mothers control an estimated 80% of all household spending, and they are increasingly exercising their spending power online. Motherhood changes a woman’s shopping behavior, product needs and purchase criteria. New and experienced moms alike rely heavily on the Internet to learn about the products they need, save on purchases and connect with other moms to exchange opinions about retailers and products. Moms want to do business with retailers that are respectful and responsive to their needs and concerns. Retailers that understand this meet mothers on social networks and talk honestly with them about a variety of topics, including the safety and health aspects of their products. Some use Twitter to quickly resolve customer problems, and others engage moms and their children through contests and parties. Since moms are active readers and writers of blogs, a number of retailers have formed relationships with influential bloggers who may act as brand advocates. Retailers also build customer loyalty by improving Website features and services that make shopping more convenient for busy moms. A complete research report on this topic is available from

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