Tag Archives: retail

This is a guest post by Rupa Ganata, co-founder of men’s grooming online retailer Yes Sir,  and of Brand us Social (BUS).

Social Media Pop Up Shops

From fashion to food, an increasing number of businesses are exchanging goods and services for tweets and Instagram posts in the form of modern day Social Media pop-up shops.

Pop-up shops have become a regular and vital part of high streets around the world—but the latest trend is the exchange of free goods and services in return for tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram posts: the “Social Media” pop-up. At Yes-Sir.com, a men’s grooming company, we will be collaborating with Man Made London to launch London’s first Social Media Barber shop: from September 18 to 20, the Yes-Sir.com & Man Made London Social Media barber shop in Marylebone, London will allow you to pay for a free wet shave or beard trim via a Tweet, Facebook post or Instagram post using our dedicated hash tag #ShaveMeSir.

Other brands have already explored the concept of the Social Media Pop-up. A recent success story was Marc Jacobs, who launched a pop-up store in London’s Covent Garden. The idea was to enhance and magnify customer engagement by exchanging fragrances and manicures for tweets and videos. Shoppers received the chance to pick up their favourite pieces and pay with social media. The pop-up shop was laid out with creative photography and video in mind, with different areas where visitors could go to create that unique image to earn them some freebies. The more creative the posts with the #MJDaisyChain hash tag, the more amazing the prizes. For example, a Tweet and a Vine video won you a Marc Jacobs key ring and a free manicure at the in-store Nail Bar.

Some brands have also incorporated a ‘pay with picture’ strategy that encompasses the rising trend of visual social media in 2014. For example, frozen food brand Bird’s Eye turned interactive image posts into free meals in a London pop-up. And Nokia celebrated the Lumia 630 by launching the #100aires Pop-up in East London in June, where one-off art pieces were up for sale using social currency.

Let us know if your brand has plans to experiment with a social media pop-up concept!

About the Author

Rupa GanatraRupa is co-founder of Yes Sir, one of Europe’s leading men’s grooming online retailers and co-founder of Brand us Social (BUS), a forward-looking Social Media and Digital intelligence and events company providing news, data and conferences. She was recently featured as the Top 35 under 35 Women in the UK in Management Today and the Sunday Times.

American Apparel: “We’ve made as much as $50K in one flash sale on Twitter”

Twitter has proven itself to be a valuable marketing tool for edgy clothing brand American Apparel. In an interview recently posted on the Twitter blog, American Apparel’s Director of Marketing Ryan Holiday discusses a single flash sale on Twitter that earned $50,000 for the clothing brand.

Those are some pretty impressive numbers. Why does Twitter work so well for American Apparel?

Realtime Marketing Platform for a Realtime Brand

As a brand that creates, manufactures and sells its product on an ongoing basis, American Apparel considers itself a “realtime” brand and needs a marketing platform that can be used to continually highlight and push new products. This is quite different from the more traditional retail schedule that pushes out products each season, and in limited amounts.

Holiday told Twitter: “We’re not waiting to concentrate everything into one big media moment. Twitter functions really well with our manufacturing system because it is always on like we are, making new things.”

Consistently Engaging

With over 467,000 followers on Twitter, American Apparel is well-established on the platform, thanks to the brand’s commitment to engage users. Numbers have grown largely from organic growth, but also from the regular purchase of Promoted Tweets to push limited-time offers on Twitter; Holiday told AdWeek that follower numbers increased 40% from two years ago.

American Apparel on Twitter

In addition to regular posts (many including images) and flash sales, American Apparel also uses Vine on fairly regular basis, posting a new six-second video every week or two. “We use Twitter for announcements, giveaways, sharing photos, having contests, customer service—basically anything you can think of,” Holiday told AdWeek.

Images are a huge component for American Apparel’s tweets, generally filled with what AdWeek refers to as “sexualized imagery.” Nearly all the brand’s tweet in January included an image of some variety.

 Email Vs. Twitter

As it turns out, the two can work together for American Apparel.  Holiday told Twitter that “The best thing about Twitter is that it’s a short, immediate way to communicate with and reward our fans. With an email, you’ve got to spend time getting it coded, designed and tested. But on Twitter, we can get a message out, do a short flash sale or share a promo code instantly.”

Flash sales have been enormously successful for the brand, allowing short promotions (even for just an hour) that let the brand test and improve while discovering what consumers respond to.  Sales teams at American Apparel often leverage Twitter to meet goals or benchmarks, offering up a quick sale or free shipping to move the needle.

However, Holiday also revealed a new emphasis on Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards, which allow the brand to collect consumer emails via promotions. He told AdWeek that “Email is always going to be best medium to talk to your fans because it’s direct” and now Twitter can provide that data for brands (Facebook already offered a similar option.)

The brand is creating one or two lead generation campaigns per week on Twitter. These produced particularly strong results around Halloween, the brand’s busiest time of year:

  • one tweet/promotion around Halloween costumes led to 100 leads and 2% engagement rate
  • 50% of leads from these campaigns led to new emails (not previously in the brand’s database)
  • these leads had an average order value of $90, about 15% higher than normal average order value

Creating promotions to meet sales goals, focusing on visuals, marketing in realtime for a constantly evolving product, but also getting (good, old-fashioned) emails for direct promotions: Twitter is a platform for all these efforts from American Apparel, and they’re working.

Some final words of advice from Ryan Holiday: “You can embrace the benefits of the medium but you need your strategy to be aligned with what you do elsewhere.”  Could Twitter work for your brand in this way?

Apple Debuts iBeacon Location Technology in U.S. Stores

Apple Debuts iBeacon Technology in U.S. StoresHow can a retailer effectively reach consumers in-store and educate them about deals that might be of particular interest?  Apple’s iBeacon technology is looking to accomplish both, and after a successful run with the MLB’s ‘At the Ballpark’ mobile app at Citifield, Apple has now installed the location technology into its own retail stores.

Last Friday, the technology debuted in 254 Apple stores in the U.S.  Visitors with Bluetooth on and iOS7 on their mobile device receive messages about products, events and other info — provided they’ve downloaded the Apple Store app and allow it to send notices based on location, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Using iBeacon, the mobile app delivers personal information to users based on their current location in-store.  Consumers will receive notice if a computer they ordered is ready for pickup, and may get messages about upgrading and/or trading in old phones when they walk by the iPhone section.

How is iBeacon different than using GPS for geo-location? Transmission through Bluetooth wireless technology gives your phone precise information about where you are in the store, while GPS transmitters don’t work well indoors and don’t distinguish well between locations only a few feet apart.

And what about privacy?  Are consumers willing to give retailers precise information about their location? While the technology may raise privacy concerns among some users, according to a study by mobile marketing firm Swirl Network, 77% of consumers are ok with sharing location data “in exchange for something of value.” And out of the 1,000 consumers surveyed during November, 80% said they would use retailer apps more often while shopping in-store if those apps delivered sales and promotion alerts.

Consumers are looking for apps with content that is more relevant to their interests and location; 62% of survey respondents said such content would increase their use of retailer mobile apps. The MLB will use iBeacon next year – via the ‘At The Ballpark’ app – at multiple ballparks.  Where do you expect to see this technology pop up next?

Privacy concerns aside, iBeacon offers specific, relevant information for consumers while they are in-store. How else might this technology be used to address user needs, in realtime — and will other tech companies step up and create their own?

One-Third of Consumers Are Visiting Top Digital Retail Sites Via Mobile Exclusively

New research from comScore’s Data Mine reveals that while the majority of the digital consumers use both desktop and mobile devices, around one-third of consumers are visiting the top digital retail brands exclusively via mobile as of September 2013. And those visiting sites via mobile are “behaving very differently” depending on which retailer they are engaging with.

Engagement with retailers via mobile is split: some consumers tend to use the mobile app for a given retail brand, while others visit the brand’s mobile site.  The research shows that for the top three online retail properties – Amazon, eBay and Apple sites – visitors spend the majority of the time engaging via mobile app. This is in stark contrast to other retail brands, where consumers spend 71-98% of their time engaging through the mobile web (not through the brand’s app).

Retail via Mobile - comScore research

Why is there such a sharp divide?  According to comScore, the difference is easy to explain: mobile users are only willing to download a certain amount of apps, so they choose their favorite few and then use the mobile web to browse among the rest.

Does this place other retailers at a disadvantage? The report says yes; these brands then rely on their mobile site, which may not be optimized for easy shopping (compared to desktop), and the brand is not “front-and-center” on consumers’ mobile screens.  The solution? Retail brands who want to see m-commerce grow need to get consumers to download and use their app.

How many retail apps are on your mobile phone?

Mobile Shopping and Showrooming: How Does It Impact Retailers? [Study]

Showrooming and M-Commerce: a studyAre you part of the “showrooming” phenomenon?  Showrooming – now a common term among retailers – refers to consumers who find a product in a store, but then purchase it online (whether in-store via a mobile device, or back at home).

“Among brick-and-mortar retailers, showrooming has become a dirtier word than shoplifting,” reports Bloomberg Businessweek.  Should retailers really be so concerned?

Maybe not, according to a new study from Columbia Business School and Aimia. The study examines the behavior of shoppers showrooming with their mobile device in store aisles (referred to as “M-Shoppers”); it breaks M-Shoppers down into five different categories and examines their behavior in-store.

M-Shopper types and behavior via Columbia, Aimia study

Here are the highlights:

  • 21% of all consumers are M-Shoppers — using mobile devices while in retail stores to assist in their shopping decision
  • gender of M-Shoppers is pretty evenly split (52% male, 48% female)
  • 74% of M-Shoppers are over 29 years old (M-Shoppers are not just Millennials)
  • only 6% of M-Shoppers are “Exploiters” — already planning to buy online, and always opting for the lowest price
  • 30% are “Traditionalists” — committed to purchasing in-store, and only using their smartphones to find more information
  • M-Shoppers are more likely to use a store’s mobile app (42%) than to use deal-hunting apps such as those offered by RedLaser or EBay (26%)

In summary, M-Shoppers are not as disruptive to brick-and-mortar retailers as you might think.  One of the report authors, Columbia professor David Rogers, says “Basically, it shows we should dial back the panic a little bit.”

But how can retailers convince consumers to purchase in-store, at the actual cash register?  Nearly half of respondents (48%) were more likely to buy in stores when tempted by loyalty programs.  And the majority – 55% – of respondents are willing to sign up for a store loyalty program in order to gain benefits on their smartphone while in the store.

The research also suggests that retailers offering price-matching and free shipping stand a better chance of converting customers to purchase. Half of respondents who had engaged in showrooming said an offer of free shipping convinced them to purchase online (48%); even more cited lower prices (69%).

Some retailers take a different tack, and actually encourage shoppers to buy on their mobile device; Walmart’s “geo-fencing” mobile app offers hyperlocal deals to users located near the physical store.  Walmart now gets 12% of online revenue from customers shopping (via mobile) within a brick-and-mortar store location.

The full report, Showrooming and the Rise of the Mobile-Assisted Shopper, is based on a survey of 3,000 consumers in the US, UK and Canada.  The results were also compiled into this infographic.

Father’s Day Twitter Campaigns: Bacon, Fish, Knives and Grills

This past week, several brands who take care to maintain their man-friendly images took to Twitter with some engaging campaigns relating to meat, its grilling, its hunting (and the clothes needed for the hunting), and of course the clothes in which to stylishly perform the meat hunting.

Oscar Mayer‘s #SayitWithBacon campaign, a play on saccharine jewelry commercials (i.e. #SayitWithDiamondRing) , suggests that “when words aren’t enough,” you give your loved one a box of Oscar Mayer bacon strips. But it’s not only bacon dad gets – there are three unique gift packages offering a special non-bacon-gift within: “The Commander”, which comprises a stainless-steel money-clip engraved with the words “Bring’ it Home”; there’s “The Matador”, which is a set of bacon-strip cufflinks; and “The Woodsman”, which includes a 12-function multi-tool with, you guessed it, a bacon strip carved into the handle.

All packages arrive as a velvet box containing a pack of Oscar Mayer bacon, with special gift enclosed. 360i, the firm that pushed Oreo into the social media fray, is to thank for the brand consciousness becoming one with the bacon-frenzy consciousness.

Sears Grilling is Happiness

Sears‘ long-running #GrillingisHappiness campaign asks Twitter followers to submit stories and participate in a live Twitter party to share Father’s Day plans, and show off each other’s best grilling practices via live chat. Not only is #GrillingisHappiness the retailer’s social media campaign, it’s also a full-fledged online community of grilling specialists and professionals (according to Sears), where visitors can learn new techniques on the art of grilling – as well as other tricks of the outdoor entertainment trade. Recent blog entries on www.grillingishappiness.com have been Father’s Day related, so you know Sears is serious about this holiday.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, as part of their #GreatestGift Twitter campaign, is flying a lucky father and his child of choice (limited to one child per father) to one of five destinations to spend some quality bonding time together either fishing, golfing, hunting, watching baseball, or riding off-road vehicles. Other than making sure their dads are up for these potentially strenuous adventures, contestants should follow the prompts here in order to win. The trip choices are broken up into activity categories: “Baseball” (a trip to the 2013 World Series), “Fishing” (in Alaska), “Golf” (tour of the Golf Channel studios and a trip to Ponte Vedra Beach), “Hunting” (South Dakota’s Cheyenne Ridge Signature Lodge and $500 of hunting apparel), and “Outdoor” (Colorado’s Gateway Canyons).

NRA Dont Tread On Me Twitter Campaign

The NRA (National Rifle Association) is giving away a knife, a hat, and a “shooting vest” for Father’s Day – as well as a “Don’t Tread on Me” package – all part of their #NRAgiveaway campaign. They’ve had little positive engagement with followers so far, and, as in the case of the Tweet I’m embedding here, the campaign is generating some negative feedback, too.

Mr Porter's Net-A-Porter‘s men’s style destination Mr. Porter, opened up a competition to its followers on Instagram, prompting contestants to post a photo of their “sartorially smart father” and mention @MrPorter and #DapperDad. The winner receives an Aesop Grooming Kit, and subsequent bragging rights over all of his friends’ unkempt fathers. Unfortunately the competition has already ended, but you can always play the #WristGame at Men’s Health, which has the potential to create a photographic encyclopedia of people’s wrist fashion (finally).

Oral-B released an only-on-YouTube video, as part of their #PowerofDad Twitter campaign, compiling a chronology of touching moments between fathers and children, beginning with scenes of dads and babies and ending with a dad giving away his daughter at the altar (not the sacrificial kind, though). Apart from this very sweet online-only ad, Oral-B has been fervently engaging followers on Twitter over the past week, encouraging them to participate in the #powerofdad hashtag by speaking highly of their fathers on Twitter and mentioning #powerofdad. From an engagement perspective, it was easily one of the most successful Father’s Day campaigns on Twitter this year, telling some of us, perhaps, that one of the strongest memories we have of our fathers is the one where he first yells at us to brush our teeth.

Which of these campaigns is your favorite? And how will you be celebrating Father’s Day?

Target Teams With Facebook, Launches Digital Deals App ‘Cartwheel’

Target just teamed with Facebook to launch Cartwheel, a new digital savings program.  Beginning on Wednesday, Target is offering 700 new deals “with a social twist” — every time a user claims a deal, an automatic post is generated in their Newsfeed on Facebook. Consumers can find and share deals with friends on the social network, as well as redeem offers in store.

Cartwheel by Target

Marketed as “a whole new spin on saving,” Cartwheel is expected to eventually include around 1,000 deals; for now, the deals (available only in the U.S.) give consumers a percentage off and can only be redeemed in store.

Target began working with Facebook over a year ago, seeking a way “to integrate and have a savings program with a social element,” said Eddie Baeb, spokesman for Target. Baeb told AdAge that “We’re focused on combining digital technology with the in-store experience to bridge those worlds.”

While the campaign doesn’t target any specific demographic, the goal is to increase foot traffic to stores.

How does Cartwheel work?  Consumers must have a Facebook account to access the deals site, and can begin by adding 10 deals from several different ‘Collections’ (groupings of offers around a specific theme) or by searching different categories.  Deals generally last for a month, and can be used 4X per transaction and multiple times throughout the month; they can also be used in addition to other offers/coupons.

 Collections on Target's Cartwheel

All of a user’s deals are stored in a single unique barcode, which can be updated in realtime (and, of course, while shopping).  Barcodes are scanned at checkout; Cartwheel apps for Android and iOS are expected this summer.  According to AdAge, the Cartwheel site “is Target’s first responsive site and works seamlessly on mobile devices.”

Users can see deals their friends add or redeem, and can earn badges for building lists, redeeming offers, or having friends join. Multiple activities are grouped together, so redeeming ten deals will show up as one Facebook post on a user’s Newsfeed, featuring the brands purchased. The sharing function on Cartwheel can also be turned off for those who don’t want friends to know what deals they’ve redeemed; certain items are automatically kept private, including personal care products and underwear.

KitchenAid Collection on CartwheelBrands can sponsor lists of offers in Cartwheel’s ‘Collections,’ and Target already has “several dozen” vendor partners, AdAge reports.

So far, Cartwheel is being promoted through paid Facebook ads and Target’s media channels.  The retail brand will be “watching closely” to see how consumers engage with the deals site, and how often they come back.

70% of Active Users Are Connected to a Local Business on Facebook

Social media has leveled the playing field for marketers at businesses of all size to connect directly with customers. And small, local businesses are seeing the benefits.

Local Business on social media: Los Perros Locos has built an active community on Facebook

According to Dan Levy, Director of Small Business at Facebook, there are now more than 2 billion connections between local businesses and people on the platform. The scale of the network that local businesses have built is astounding:

  • Approximately 70% of monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada are connected to a local business on Facebook.
  • In an average week, there are over 645 million views of, and 13 million comments on, local business Facebook Pages.
  • There are more than 2 billion connections between local businesses and people.

Levy shares a number of examples of how local businesses have leveraged Facebook to grow their business, including Dixon, Illinois-based  Distinctive Gardens, which saw a 40% increase in revenue from peak season sales based on Facebook promotions.  He also invites other local businesses to share their stories with Facebook using this link: Submit Your Story.

According to Alex Mitow, owner of New York City-based Colombian fast food restaurant Los Perros Locos, “the impact of social media and other online platforms with a social media component impresses me constantly. Something like 70% of my customers were driven through the doors of my brick and mortar store by what they had seen online.” Mitow maintains a strong presence on Facebook, where he amassed more than 3,000 followers before his restaurant even opened, a blog, a Twitter account, and has a growing community on Instagram.

Are you connected to local businesses on Facebook? Do you think it’s worth the time and effort for a busy local entrepreneur to invest in the platform?

London’s Regent Street Launches Social Media Hub 24/7

#RegentStreet tweetRegent Street, one of London’s major shopping streets, recently launched 24/7, a “social media hub” that allows consumers to find the latest news and engage – in realtime, on multiple social media platforms – with the shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels in the area.

The customized social media hub – accessed through regentstreetonline.com – links customers to over 100 Regent Street brands on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, SoundCloud and YouTube. Consumers can engage with the community 24 hours a day through conversations on #RegentStreet, #HeddonStreet, #SwallowStreet and others.

Regent Street Social Media Hub

Users must sign in to engage with the 24/7 content, and the social media hub maintains an ‘Archive’ that showcases social media from previous hashtag conversations.

“We are delighted to offer shoppers and visitors from all over the world a new way of engaging and enjoying their Regent Street experience,” says David Shaw, Head of Regent Street Portfolio, The Crown Estate. Regent Street is a popular choice for global brands opening flagship stores.

How much engagement – and actual traffic – will this customized social media effort create for Regent Street?

SmartWool Mobile Campaign Sees 1,313% Rise in Daily Likes

SmartWool uses Facebook for mobile, social holiday campaignOutdoor clothing retailer SmartWool recently found success in mobile and social marketing by allowing fans to tell their stories as part of a holiday campaign. For the second year in a row, SmartWool ran their ‘Share the Joy’ campaign: fans pick Facebook friends that might appreciate SmartWool gifts, and if those friends are chosen, the original fan receives a SmartWool gift as well.  The 2012 holiday campaign saw not only an impressive jump in entries, but also a huge increase in mobile and desktop daily likes.

SmartWool “doesn’t advertise much,” according to Molly Cuffe, SmartWool’s senior manager of global brand communication, since the brand has a word-of-mouth referral rate of 96%.  Cuffe told AllFacebook that the goal of this holiday campaign was to “encourage its already pleased fans to spread the message about SmartWool’s products”  – in this case using mobile and social media.

While the brand’s loyal, dedicated fanbase is largely composed of the ‘outdoors type,’ they bring their phones with them on adventures.  As Cuffe says, “We are thinking mobile first because our consumers are on the go.”

The results of the campaign speak for themselves:

  • SmartWool’s mobile daily likes grew 1,313%
  • desktop daily likes rose 113%
  • SmartWool saw a 67% jump in entries year-over-year
  • 75% of traffic came from mobile during the campaign

The impact of mobile was impressive, but Cuffe also emphasized that it didn’t detract from desktop engagement on Facebook.  The ‘People Talking About This’ metric rose 330% during the 2012 Share The Joy campaign, and that same metric is now 25% higher than it was before the campaign launched.

Strip To Your SmartWool Facebook CampaignSmartWool is all about giving their engaged fan base “a platform they want to use.” On Facebook, fans are encouraged to send in photos that the company will occasionally post. The brand has also allowed fans to engage in their own content curation through two apps on the Friend2Friend platform: Fanalog (fans create catalogs of SmartWool products they want and have a a chance to win them) and Strip to Your SmartWool (fans enter photos of themselves wearing nothing but SmartWool).  These efforts, according to Cuffe, help “grow brand recognition and loyalty.”

How is your brand using mobile – and social – to directly engage fans?