February 12, 2014, 3:36 PM

Deb Shops gets ready for a new level of social media integration

The retailer of teen apparel will soon have a feed to its web site from eight social sites, with content generated by consumers updated hourly.

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The redesigned web site that fashion retailer Deb Shops will launch in the next few weeks will feature extensive, frequently updated social media content as a way to engage shoppers beyond just selling. An important component of the new design will be the Social Hub, a social media feed at the bottom of the home page and all product pages. Those feeds will feature actual customers wearing Deb Shops fashion. The content will be updated hourly.

Integrating social content on the web site is a way to turn user-generated social content into shoppable content, Jennifer Fitzpatrick, social brand manager, Deb Shops, told the IRCE Focus: Web Design conference in Orlando, FL, Wednesday. “There is no way to click and buy on Instagram, so we decided to integrate it into the web site,” Fitzpatrick said.

The social content will consist of feeds from eight social sites that Deb Shops considers the most effective: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Wanelo, YouTube, The Perfect Fit and Deb Shops’ own blog. Deb Shops is active on 15 social sites. Anyone who posts content using the hashtag #debshops will be eligible to have her content re-posted at DebShops.com. “It adds a whole new aspect to our web site,” Fitzpatrick said.

Deb Shops targets young female shoppers who are fashion conscious and socially active online. The company has an automated system of asking users’ permission before re-posting content.

The social media integration is an extension of social content that Deb Shops was providing already. That content includes daily style inspirational photos and content, Style Chats in which a style expert answers questions in a chat format and encourages other participants to provide input and answers, and a Deb Shops blog that features girls who have a particular style and can serve as role models to others in the Deb Shops demographic group looking for fashion advice and ideas. “Our bloggers are kind of like your best friend next door,” Fitzpatrick said. Bloggers can post pictures of themselves in Deb Shops fashions and those pictures will rotate with the pictures displaying the fashion on professional models.

In two years, Deb Shops has grown its number of Facebook fans from 30,000 to 2.1 million. Incorporating social media into DebShops.com increases engagement, which leads to increased sales. “The more time she spends with us the more likely we are to be top of mind when she shops,” Fitzpatrick said.

Deb Shops is No. 129 in Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500 and gets an estimated 5.1% of its site traffic from social networks.

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