CEO Sharon Price John says Build-A-Bear’s old e-commerce system is a big reason for disappointing online sales in December.
The health and beauty products e-retailer uses promotions to spur sharing.
Social media is where Stockn’Go goes to get the word out about its brand.
“There’s no other channel that offers what social marketing offers,” says Adam Berkowitz, CEO and cofounder of the online-only health and beauty products retailer. “It’s a way to engage with people and break through the traditional marketing barriers.”
And because social media marketing has minimal costs, aside from staff time, it’s a key cog in the retailer’s overall marketing mix.
Gaining impressions is the chief goal of Stockn’Go’s strategy on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Berkowitz says. He figures the more consumers are exposed to the brand, the more likely it is that they’ll eventually go to the site and make a purchase. His definition of impressions ranges from a consumer seeing his Facebook friend’s post about the brand in his news feed—the first page a shopper sees when logging on to Facebook—to seeing that his friend Liked the retailer, or seeing a Twitter friend retweet one of its posts on his timeline—the aggregated collection of posts by a consumer’s connections that a consumer sees when logging on to Twitter.
When the strategy works according to plan, shoppers sharing Stockn’Go’s promotions and other content ranks among the retailer’s most effective marketing channels. “If we can get people to share it can be extremely valuable,” he says. “Peer-to-peer marketing is more genuine and less biased than other marketing channels. Customers trust other customers.”
To spur sharing, the retailer about once a week runs promotions like free shipping or a percentage-off discount on Facebook or Twitter to both generate sales and get shoppers to tell their friends about the deals. About every other month it also works with social media marketing vendor Wildfire Interactive Inc. to pepper in contests, such as a giveaway of products from the Tigi hair care line. Those contests often encourage shoppers to share news of their entry with their friends in exchange for an added benefit, such as an extra entry to win the sweepstakes.
Stockn’Go never runs the same contests twice and almost always offers consolation prizes or coupon codes to keep its fans interested, says Berkowitz. “If you do the same thing all the time it gets boring and consumers tune out,” he says.
But the retailer says consumers are paying attention, as more than 2% of the new shoppers who register on the site note that they learned of the retailer on a social network. Given that shoppers can check out as a guest as well (Berkowitz didn’t disclose how many check out that way or the percentage of registered shoppers that select a referral source), he estimates that the true percentage of new customers who stem from social media may be as high as 5%.