Retail TouchPoints: Six Strategies Retailers Are Using to Expand Their Facebook Networks
By Amanda Ferrante
Through a special arrangement, presented here
for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail
Providing the ability to reach some 250 million
users, the Facebook platform has been established as a pot of gold for
retailers. While experts agree that the common objectives for retailers
should be branding, community building and intelligence acquisition, it
is important to remember that the customer is still top of mind.
“The important thing to remember about social
business is that all of the various parties (retailers, customers, prospective
customers, etc.) all can – and should – be a part of the conversation,” says
Chris Carfi, co-founder of Cerado, Inc. & Author of The Social Customer
Manifesto Blog. “The dynamic is very different than the ‘customer-as-target’
Here are innovative ways retailers are addressing
these kinds of objectives:
- Whole Foods: The organic grocer, with over 100,000 fans
on its Facebook page, offers information that’s not only relevant to
the store, but to the food industry as well. A recent post on its Facebook
page offered an announcement about the USDA National Organics Program
hiring enforcement investigators. So while they do provide coupons and
offers relevant to shopping at Whole Foods, they’re very focused on providing
more information that gives a backbone to the name.
- Mandee: The small young apparel retailer, with nearly 22,000
fans uses the status feature on Facebook to ask their fans questions
about merchandise and fashion preferences, like what colors and styles
shoppers are interested in. Who makes the best pair of jeans? They also
ask questions that provide richer information, not necessarily relevant
to merchandise, but to learn more about their customers, like ‘What concerts
you’re looking forward to this summer?’ (because Mandee wants to give
out tickets), or whether or not you share clothes with your sisters.
- Sears: The cross-channel retailer offers visitors a real
incentive to become a fan – a free $10 Sears coupon. Sears currently
has nearly 25,000 fans.
- Coach: The luxury retailer offers Facebook fans an exclusive
free gift, but they have to fill out a form which asks for basic customer
information and bring it into a Coach store. This effort has potential
to increase store traffic and help Coach to enhance their contact database.
The Coach Facebook page has nearly 400,000 fans.
- Zappos: The e-tailer, recently acquired by Amazon, tapped
Facebook for a video campaign where fans send in video clips of them
opening the box of shoes they just received. The company also developed
an application that enables people to show their recent purchases and
brand preferences on their personal Facebook pages, creating an opportunity
to make huge viral impact. Zappos has nearly 19,000 fans on Facebook.
- Mini USA: Nearly 170,000 fans of Mini are sharing pictures,
stories and learnings about their cars with each other. “Facebook
gives Mini a center-of-gravity around which the fans can congregate and,
at the same time, gives them the opportunity to listen to those same
customers and learn from them,” says Ms. Carfi.
Discussion Questions: What do you think
should be the primary purpose for retailers on social network sites such
as Facebook? How much does it depend on the type of store? Have you noticed
any innovative ways a retailer has been utilizing Facebook?