October 1, 2013, 12:02 PM

Fashion retailer Tory Burch grows up with social media

At the Shop.org conference, Tory executives also talk global e-commerce.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Women’s fashion retailer Tory Burch LLC, which launched the same year as Facebook, has grown up with social commerce. So it makes sense that social media plays a dominant role in the retailer’s branding and global e-commerce efforts.

Two executives from the label gave a keynote address entitled “The Digital Journey of Growing a Global Brand” this morning at the Shop.Org Annual Summit in Chicago.

Following an opening act that included Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel touting the logistical and technological benefits of his city, Tory Burch chief marketing officer Miki Berardelli and senior vice president of global stores Matt Marcotte gave a tag-team presentation that was part Tory Burch commercial and part run-through about how the retailer uses social media and technology to better serve luxury shoppers across various channels.

Tory Burch, which launched in 2004, is No. 186 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. It operates more than 100 stores globally along with e-commerce sites in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Austria, the company says. The retailer ships to consumers in 30 countries from a U.S. distribution center.

Even in countries without a Tory Burch e-commerce site, the retailer relies on social media to get its messages to consumers, Berardelli said. She used the example of Weibo.com, considered China’s Twitter. “This is about branding, about supporting stores there,” she said, noting that Tory Burch operates four stores in Hong Kong.

Social media isn’t always directly about the sale, either. Tory Burch’s Twitter messages are written by the designer herself and meant to appeal to shoppers interested in her “stream of consciousness” messages, which provide a voice to the brand, Berardelli said. The same holds true on the image-focused Instagram, also handled by Ms. Burch.

Facebook, though is different: That serves as the voice of the brand, and includes a store where the retailer’s fans have access to limited-time sales that feature one item per day, she says. That sense of exclusivity carries over to the retailer’s mobile app, via which the retailer aims to offer “exclusive app shopping events as well,” she said.

She said that 44% of Tory Burch’s site traffic comes from mobile devices, and that 60% of that customer segment arrives via smartphones. Tory Burch projects its m-commerce sales will reach $49 million, a 170.7% increase from 2012, according to the 2014 Internet Retailer Mobile 500. The retailer holds the No. 70 spot in that recently released research and rankings guide. To help boost its mobile sales, the retailer last year adopted responsive web design  that makes its site easier to display on different devices.

Marcotte, meanwhile, promoted the retailer’s Client Book service. It enables customers to keep track of previous orders, wish lists and other information from an online accounts. A shopper might put something into her wish list late at night, for instance, and a store associate keeping track could have that item ready on the shopper’s next store visit or prepare recommendations for other products. Or, he said, a husband could visit a Tory Burch store in search of gift for his wife and buy something that she will not need to return.

 

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