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Avenue generates online referrals with ShopSocially

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pataskala, Ohio – Specialty apparel retailer Avenue Stores is turning its online customers into brand advocates by using ShopSocially’s referral marketing solution to generate referrals from its website users.

By encouraging users to connect with the Avenue brand on Facebook and share their purchases on social media, Avenue is driving word-of-mouth promotions resulting in a referral traffic that is converting at a rate as high as 28.48%.

Avenue has embedded ShopSocially’s Social Connect app on its website to encourage users to connect deeper with their brand on Facebook. Using this app, users share their rich social profile data with Avenue, including information like age, gender, location, likes and friend information. As users connect with the Avenue brand, they create a social post endorsing the retailer on Facebook. This acts as customer referral being shared on social media and brings in quality referral traffic to the e-commerce store.

Avenue is using ShopSocially’s Share-a-Purchase app on the order completion page to encourage customers for purchase sharing. Each social post created acts as word-of-mouth promotion and generates quality friend traffic to the Avenue site, which is converting at a rate of 14.88%.

“Avenue being a specialty retailer for plus-sized fashion, our customers love us for the specialty fit we offer in the every piece of clothing we sell.” said Kristen St. Peter, director, e-commerce at Avenue. “ShopSocially is enabling us to convert this customer affection into valuable social referrals and attract high quality referral traffic to our website.”

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Sears an ‘enormous loser’ this holiday

BY CSA STAFF

Former top Sears executive Mark Cohen is at it again with harsh words recently about Sears holiday performance and long term viability.

Cohen, former chairman and CEO of Sears Canada turned teacher at Columbia’s business school, appeared on CNBC to share his views on a holiday season with top line growth that appears to have exceeded earlier forecasts.

“Sears again is going to be an enormous loser,” Cohen said.

Overall, the holidays could be a catastrophe from a profitability standpoint from many retailers due to extensive discounting and expense pressures associated with expanded hours.

Cohen said, “you are looking at a train wreck,” when promotions start after Halloween and by Thanksgiving discounts are already at 50 percent to 60 percent.

“The sales don’t tell the tale. There is going to be some tremendous difficulty on the bottom line,” Cohen said. “At the end of the day, it is all about margin. It’s not about sales.”

Cohen's sharpest criticism was for his Sears and it’s not the first time his former employee was subject to stinging criticism. In a June 2014 interview with Bloomberg, Cohen said Sears had descended into irrelevance, was in a death spiral and was fatally damaged.

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Jo-Ann offers vets discount

BY CSA STAFF

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores has reinforced its support of the military by introducing an everyday 10 percent discount for all past or present members of the armed forces and their families.

The nation’s leading fabric and craft specialty retailer with 850 stores said all military members, past or present, and their families qualify for the 10 percent everyday discount. To receive the discount, customers must provide proof of military service or military dependent ID upon checkout. The discount is valid in-store only.

“Jo-Ann has a great respect for the military and their families, and we have always been proud to support them through various corporate giving initiatives and exclusive sales events,” said Beth Shivak, manager, corporate giving at Jo-Ann. “This new everyday military discount reaffirms our thankfulness for those who have served or are currently serving around the world as well as their families.”

Earlier this year, Jo-Ann made a commitment to the National Military Family Association (NMFA) in conjunction with the company’s charitable tenets. In December, Jo-Ann hosted a Make It-Give It at all stores nationwide to support the partnership with the NMFA. Through the Make It-Give It, customers had the opportunity to craft greeting cards to be delivered to military members and families through the NMFA’s network. The goal was to create more than 125,000 cards to help bring joy to the military families NMFA supports year-round.

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