September 23, 2010, 1:23 PM

How J&P Cycles rides social media to revenue

The motorcycle parts retailer talks up customer service on Twitter and other social sites.

Lead Photo

J&P Cycles, a multichannel retailer of motorcycle parts and accessories, attributes much of its growth over the last 25 years to a strong emphasis on service, including 24-hour customer service and free technical support as long as a customer owns a product purchased from J&P.

But until last year’s fourth quarter, it hadn’t quite figured out how to leverage its customer service reputation to realize more sales to potential consumers reached through Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.

In Q4 2009, however, it started to monitor and analyze traffic coming to its e-commerce site,, with the Cloud Monitor application from RightNow Technologies Inc.

The web-based Cloud Monitor application monitors conversations relevant to J&P Cycles, including mentions of vendors and competitors as well as J&P itself, on Twitter and YouTube.

Having the ability to see who’s interested in its products and services in social networks, and engage them with information about its reputation for customer service, the retailer has been able to expand its reputation for customer service, boost sales and increased the number of visitors to its e-commerce site,, says Rich Brecht, senior contact center manager, J&P Cycles.

"Conversations are taking place on social networking sites about your organization no matter if you like it or not,” Brecht says. “We found that with the use of RightNow Cloud Monitor we are able not only to track these external conversations, but also to participate and provide feedback to those customers that are looking for specific answers."

J&P uses built-in analytics in the Cloud Monitor application to analyze the number and type of pertinent mentions on social media sites and decide how to respond to them, such as by offering product information through blogs and newsletters linked to social media sites or through direct engagement via e-mail to recognized customers. J&P uses the Cloud Monitor application within an integrated RightNow technology suite that also includes applications for e-mail management and analytics reporting, for offering live chat customer service and for supporting online customer self-service through a product data knowledge base.

Since deploying RightNow Cloud Monitor late last year, J&P has identified a modest, but growing, flow of sales through Twitter and other social networks, the retailer says. It has attributed about $10,000 in online sales through Twitter, out of a total of $25,000 in revenue generated by traffic coming through Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, Brecht says.

Though still a tiny fraction of overall sales, the retailer’s social media sales are up fivefold from a year ago, and it expects sharp growth from social media sites to continue, he adds. “We estimate $100,000 in sales in the first full year of implementing our feedback system,” he says.

The retailer has increased its number of Facebook fans to 27,000 from 1,500 a year ago, Brecht says.

As this has brought more traffic to, J&P also boosted its volume of live chat traffic—giving the retailer another productive way to spread its reputation and boost sales, Brecht says.

“With an expected 100% increase in live chat contacts for 2011, we anticipate continued positive traction for web conversion rates,” he says. J&P notes that customers who engage in live chat sessions are nearly four times as likely to make an online purchase compared to visitors who don’t participate in live chat.

By using the RightNow suite, J&P estimates it will save $50,000 per year in labor costs related to managing customer feedback. “We’ve truly raised the bar on service to our customers and increased efficiency at the same time,” Brecht says.

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