January 10, 2014, 11:59 AM

Free People leads the pack in social commerce

The fashion retailer has the top score among 872 brands in 8thBridge’s Social Commerce IQ report.

Lead Photo

Free People knows social.

The fashion retailer’s e-commerce site features Pinterest-like “Collections” that let shoppers collect various items on boards around a particular theme such as “spring break,” as well as follow and comment on other shoppers’ boards. Shoppers can also upload photos of themselves wearing Free People products. And, to keep the shoppers engaged, the retailer sends a weekly e-mail update on Collections and photos that are trending. Since the program launched last year, consumers have created more than 30,000 Collections and uploaded more than 20,000 images.

And that’s just on FreePeople.com. That doesn’t even account for the retailer’s activity on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Google Plus and YouTube. The retailer has 21,908 “pins,” on Pinterest, which is more than 869 other brands in a new report ranking 872 retailers’ social commerce efforts by technology vendor 8thBridge Inc. That extensive pinning—by the retailer and consumers—has helped the retailer drive 3.52% of its web site traffic from Pinterest, a social site where shoppers pin images and photos of products they like from around the web.

Those robust efforts are what makes Free People stand out among online retailers, according to the report, which ranked the retailers in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Top 500 Guide, as well as other brands Internet Retailer found to be the most active on social networks (8thBridge worked with Internet Retailer as a data partner for the new 2014 Social Media 500, which ranks online merchants on the percentage of site traffic they receive from social networks and includes a range of social-related data points). Free People is not an 8thBridge client.

Close behind Free People are Lancome Paris and Smashbox. Free People is owned by Urban Outfitters Inc., No. 48 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide. Lancome-USA.com is No. 431.

The report, “Social Commerce IQ: Retailer 2013” uses a metric dubbed the Social Commerce IQ to gauge online merchants’ effectiveness in social media. 8thBridge calculated the score by weighting 52 data points, including upstream traffic from social networks, engagement metrics such as a brand’s number of followers and user interactions, as well as measures of the retailer’s incorporation of social features into its own e-commerce site.

The majority of the top retailers in the report are active on many social networks, and they weave a number of social elements into their sites.

Here are the top 10 retailers overall in the index, followed by the scores on a 0-200 scale, and their rankings among the Internet Retailer Top 1000 retailers, where applicable:

• FreePeople.com, 133.0, No. 48

• Lancome-USA.com, 132.2, No. 431

• Smashbox.com, 130.0, No. 59

• LollyWollyDoodle.com, 127.1

• Plndr.com, 120.7

• Target.com, 120.3, No. 18

• BourbonandBoots.com, 120.2

• ToysRUs.com, 119.8, No. 30

• WWEShop.com, 118.6, No. 564

• Modcloth.com, 115.7, No. 366

Other data points from the report include:

  • 62% of the retailers feature Pinterest’s Pin It button on product pages, compared with 59% that offer the Facebook Like button.
  • Eight of the top 25 merchants on 8thBridge list are among the top 50 sites in the 2013 Top 500 Guide.
  • Facebook accounted for 69% of upstream traffic to retail sites from social networks.

69% of the retailers in the report are active on Instagram and 38% use Vine.

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