This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions
Social media is impacting the customer experience in important new ways. Customer Interaction Solutions recently interviewed Jason Brennan, co-founder of advertising agency Stream Companies about how one discount apparel retailer is leveraging social media.
VF Outlet, a discount apparel retailer with 70 stores nationwide, has been working with the firm on social, local and mobile initiatives, and has piloted projects that mix social media with the traditional in-store shopping experience.
As a result, VF Outlet’s Facebook (News - Alert) page has grown from having no social media presence to generating more than 33,000 Likes in under a year. It achieved those results through a combination of promotions, coupons, contests, and integration with other marketing efforts to achieve this.
“The client wanted to spend limited resources in social media,” says Brennan. “With that in mind, we recommended that they should initially concentrate their efforts on Facebook. The strategy was to build a fan base through the use of e-mail lists, coupon offers and contests. We worked with the VF marketing department to manage daily operations of the page, creating and posting engaging content. We were also highly involved with creating conversations with their passionate fan base, responding to questions, and soliciting feedback. We were also hugely dedicated to collecting and analyzing data, which is a hallmark of how we approach all our accounts. This gave us a lot of insight, and we were able to make strategic recommendations on how to move forward.”
As part of the effort, the companies integrated a lot of Facebook-only couponing. Stream looked at the whole business, studying the data and customer insights, so was able to make offers that people not only wanted and used for themselves, but were willing to share. For example, they held new store openings.
“Stream also integrated with an in-person event where the @VFOutletGirls, three VF Outlet marketing girls tweeting from behind the scenes on the VF Outlet store photo shoots, events, sales and everything in between,” Brennan says. “This has been hugely popular and is a great way that VF Outlets is connecting its online social activities with its in-store activities.”
The companies also have been exploring social flash sales, a new social commerce trend.
“Basically, VF chooses an outfit not available in stores – complete with dress, bag, and hat – and makes it available only to their nearly 40,000 Facebook fans for a limited time,” Brennan explains. “We manage the promotion, social interaction, customer service, and feedback of these flash sales. They have provided us with some very interesting insights into what customers will want next and where we should be heading with our social and other marketing efforts to stay out front.”
Edited by Stefania Viscusi