OPERATIONS

Duane Reade finds ROI and engagement success on Twitter

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — New York City drug store Duane Reade, a division of Walgreens, on Tuesday celebrated an important social milestone — surpassing one million followers on Twitter — with a gala event at the chain’s flagship on Wall Street. From September 2012 to date, the regional retailer has organically grown its Twitter following by 6,709%, making it one of the fastest-growing accounts on Twitter year over year. With 1.1 million followers at latest count, the chain is believed to be the most followed retailer in the drug, food and mass arena.

“Duane Reade went from 10,000 followers last July on the platform to one million currently,” said Chris Riedy, senior sales manager, Twitter. “That really is a significant accomplishment. “

The drugstore chain has averaged a 4% engagement rate for “Promoted Tweets.”

“That’s very very strong,” Riedy said. (The industry average is 2%.)

Riedy credited three crucial elements for the chain’s success in growing its Twitter base.

“They had an outstanding team…the team was able to put in place an authentic voice…and the team understood how to leverage the Twitter ad platform,” he explained.

Reedy noted that Duane Reade has been successful in using social media not only to drive engagement but also to drive sales. He cited the Duane’s Reade’s “Show Us Some Leg” social amplification vendor campaign, which bolstered ROI, including a 28% lift in sales of the chain’s legwear. (Post campaign performance numbers for the vendor have been equally impressive, with sales up 21% year-over-year as of July 2013, according to Duane Reade.)

“The marketing power of Twitter cannot be overestimated,” said Calvin Peters, digital communications manager, Duane Reade.

Duane Reade has developed an “always on” Twitter Ads strategy that is driven by consumer-generated media and is integrated across channels to connect with new audiences — and keep existing followers engaged.

“Our goal has been social community building and expanding relevant engagement to enhance our overall experience,” said Calvin Peters, digital communications manager, Duane Reade. “Achieving this while also creating social communication vehicles that can generate tangible ROI results for both corporate and vendor initiatives have proven successful.”

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FINANCE

Toys “R” Us loss triples in Q2

BY Marianne Wilson

Wayne, N.J. — Toys "R" U widened its loss in the second quarter on lower sales at its stores in the United States and Europe. The company reported a loss of $113 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $36 million.

Net sales for the quarter, ended August 3, dropped 6.9% to $2.38 billion. Same-store sales declined 3.5% in the U.S. and 3.8% abroad. The retailer attributed the decline primarily to decreases in the juvenile and entertainment (which includes electronics, video game hardware and software) categories.

Interim CEO Antonio Urcelay said the retailer is “intensely focused” on finalizing plans for the holiday season to ensure it is well-positioned to compete.

“We believe that the initiatives we have recently announced in the U.S., including an enhanced Price Match Guarantee and a comprehensive suite of programs to encourage early buying, in combination with our expertise in the identification and ownership of the hottest toys, will strongly appeal to consumers as they develop their holiday shopping lists,” he said.

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FINANCE

Sycamore takes 8% stake in Aeropostale

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Private-equity firm Sycamore Partners disclosed through a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday that an affiliate, Hummingbird LLC, had taken an 8% stake in Aeropostale.

Sycamore through its Hummingbird LLC unit, bought about 6.3 million shares of Aeropostale, according to the filing. That would make it the retailer’s fourth-largest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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