March 22, 2012, 9:17 AM

Facebook and TV ads lure shoppers to

The fashion retail site’s traffic rose 400% in the fourth quarter.

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Social marketing was responsible for a healthy chunk of fashion retail site’s 380% sales increase in 2011, says founder Nitin Passin.

Roughly 15% to 20% of the site’s traffic came from Facebook alone last year, making it the biggest single driver of traffic to the site. Shoppers click from the social network to the site thanks largely to giveaways on Facebook and discounts for shoppers who Like the retailer on the social network. Those efforts contributed to 40,000 new fans in January 2012.

Overall, traffic to the fashion retail site grew 400% year over year in the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to a major television ad campaign dubbed “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” which the retailer rolled out for the holidays, Passin says.

Missguided, No. 308 in the Europe Top 400 Europe, says it is one of the few web-only fashion retailers to advertise on television in the United Kingdom, and it finds the TV medium resonates well with the 16- to 35-year-olds that the retailer is after. “Missguided’s ad buying has been targeting our core audience through select TV shows,” he says. “TV ads are perfect for our target market.” 

Passin, a third-generation member of the fashion industry, launched Missguided as a web-only retail operation with 50 products in 2009 when European bricks-and-mortar apparel retailers were suffering. “I had no e-commerce experience,” he says. “But back then e-commerce businesses were the only businesses going up and I didn’t see a future in anything else, so I took a chance.”

Missguided plans to launch a mobile-optimized site this year and to expand internationally by launching e-commerce sites in the United States, France and Germany by June.

For the first time the Top 400 Europe is available in three forms: print, digital and as part of the all-new and completely updated Information on how to order the Top 400 Europe is available here.

Felicity Lewis, executive director of global online and CRM, Jurlique Holistic Skin Care Inc. will speak this June at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in a session titled “Six keys to an effective global e-commerce operation.” The IRCE $200 early-bird discount expires Mar. 31.

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