April 27, 2012, 10:36 AM

Finding the real ROI in Facebook marketing

A Gilt Groupe executive will speak at IRCE on his experiences with social marketing.

Lead Photo

Jason John

With over 800 million consumers worldwide registered on Facebook, marketers figure there must be a way to reach those shoppers via the leading social network. Just how an online retailer can do that effectively will be the subject of a session entitled “The many flavors of a social strategy: What will work for you” on June 7 from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.

Jason John, senior director of marketing at Gilt Groupe Inc., will be one of the speakers at the session, and he will describe the evolution of Gilt’s Facebook strategy. The e-retailer, which sells fashion apparel and other high-end items on a limited-time, flash sale basis, has tried opening a store on Facebook, but has concluded that’s not the most effective way to leverage Facebook. “We’ve found it’s more about top-of-funnel awareness and engagement that drives future purchases, rather than something comparable to the e-commerce site itself,” John says. Gilt Group is No. 49 in Internet Retailer's Top 500 Guide.

Gilt continues to test various ways to promote its sales via Facebook, and is in the process of developing a Facebook app, John says. The app may, for example, encourage consumers to choose between two items that Gilt is considering selling. Within a few months a consumer will be able to buy the winning item, and purchase it right on Facebook, including selecting the size and color, although that won’t be part of the initial release, John says.

“We’re still learning,” he says, which could be said about most retailers engaged in marketing via social networks. John will provide an update on what Gilt has learned at his session at IRCE, where he will speak alongside Tom Funk, senior e-commerce manager at manufacturer and e-retailer Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Internet Retailer’s editors asked John to speak because of his pioneering work at Gilt in both social and mobile marketing, combined with his extensive experience in e-commerce and retail marketing. Prior to joining Gilt in 2010, John was e-commerce director at Redcats USA, managing such retail web sites as SportsmansGuide.com, OneStopPlus.com and Avenue.com. He previously led database and online marketing for retailer J. Crew and implemented a customer relationship management system for lifestyle brand Martha Stewart Living.


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