February 6, 2014, 12:41 PM

Deb Shops promises a sneak peak of its new, more social e-commerce site

The retailer has found that the mere presence of social features boosts revenue. An IRCE Focus: Web Design + Mobile Commerce conference speaker will discuss how the retailer chose the elements to include and how it gauges success.

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Junior and plus-sized fashion retailer Deb Shops next week plans to launch a redesigned web site that features a number of social elements, such as shopper-uploaded Instagram photos on its product detail pages. The site will also feature a social hub where consumers can see what the retailer is showing on eight of the 15 social networks on which it is most active.

DebShops.com already incorporates such social elements as Pinterest-like Style Boards that let shoppers collect various items on boards around a particular theme, such as “beachwear.” The reason the retailer is adding more is that the mere presence of social features boosts revenue, says Jennifer Fitzpatrick, social media and brand manager for Deb Shops, which is No. 129 in the Internet Retailer 2014 Social Media 500. The annual Social Media 500  ranks the leaders in social commerce by the percentage of web site traffic they receive directly from social networks.

Using A/B testing, the retailer found when it included social elements on its current site, its site revenue per visit jumped 16%. And shoppers who interact with social elements visit 36% more often and convert at a 220% higher rate than other shoppers. By adding even more social features to its site, it hopes to drive more shoppers to engage with the site and—eventually—make a purchase.

Fitzpatrick will preview the DebShops.com redesign at the IRCE Focus: Web Design + Mobile Commerce conference in Orlando, FL, in a Feb. 12 session entitled “Integrating Social Media Tools into Your Site Design,”  as well as share how the retailer developed the design.

She will also detail the approach that has helped the retailer rapidly grow its number of social media followers. Its Facebook fan base was just 30,000 two years ago, for example, but today it has more than 2.1 million followers on the social network. Fitzpatrick will share how and why the retailer is active on 15 social networks.

“There’s a lot of trial and error,” she says. “But if we see value, we figure out how we can put more effort into it.”

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