February 27, 2012, 4:31 PM

Rewards drive shoppers from Facebook to a toy retailer’s site

12.5% of traffic to Step2.com now comes from the social network.

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A new rewards program has doubled the percentage of its traffic toy manufacturer and online retailer Step2 Company LLC attracts from Facebook. Since implementing the program two weeks, ago, Facebook has accounted for 12.5% of the traffic to the site, which sells play sets for toddlers and pre-schoolers, according to Alexa Internet Inc., a unit of Amazon.com Inc. that provides web site traffic and other Internet data. That’s the merchant’s second-largest traffic source behind only Google, at 31.9%. Step2 is No. 795 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide. Amazon.com is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The increase in Facebook traffic came after Step2 added PowerReviews Inc.’s Essential Social Suite, or ESS, a set of tools that allow retailers to promote, reward and measure the impact of consumer engagement and content creation. Step2 used the tools to add a feature it calls BuzzBoard to its site. BuzzBoard rewards a consumer with points for writing reviews, following fellow reviewers and subscribing to have reviews sent to her Facebook news feeds. Shoppers can see a list of the shoppers with the most points on the retailer’s web site, adding a competitive element. Consumers can use the points to earn badges and bragging rights among fellow users.

Consumers who click from Facebook to Step2 are spending three times more per order than they did prior to the introduction of BuzzBoard,says the retailer. The social content generated by those rewarded actions is spurring shoppers to spend more, says Tena Crock, Step2’s online marketing director. “With ESS we’re able to tap into the conversations our customers are having, and the content they’re creating, in order to drive sales in a way that just gathering Facebook fans can’t do,” she says.

That’s the point of the new tool set, which officially launches today, says Pehr Luedtke, PowerReviews CEO. The suite aims to improve retailers’ ability to gauge the effectiveness and reach of their social campaigns. “We’re trying to connect social with sales in a meaningful, integrated way,” he says. “Despite retailers setting up fan pages, tweeting, launching interesting social campaigns, it’s clear that Likes don’t equal sales.”
ESS builds on PowerReviews’ question-and-answer and review feature by adding social loyalty tools like the BuzzBoard, as well as measurement tools that enable retailers to gauge how PowerReviews-powered social activities impact traffic and sales. For instance, Step2 can use a PowerReviews dashboard to see the percentage of consumers who interacted with questions-and-answers then clicked and bought items on Step2.com.

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