MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Experian: Pinterest is top social traffic driver for retail websites

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Social media sites are playing an increasingly important role in driving traffic to other websites, including retail websites and even other social networking sites, at the expense of search engines and portal websites, according to new research from Experian Research Services. As of March 2014, social media sites now account for 7.72% of all traffic to retail web sites, up from 6.59% in March 2013. Further, Pinterest, more than Facebook or YouTube, is supplying the greatest percentage of downstream traffic to retail sites.

"While search still dominates, social media is becoming a significant source of traffic across the Internet as consumers increasingly use sites like Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube more as discovery platforms," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research, Experian Marketing Services. "Many of today’s marketers are leveraging the power of social communities to increase customer engagement and expand their brand’s reach. For retailers, all eyes are on Pinterest."

According to Experian’s “2014 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report,” more retailers are directing their customers to social media within their email campaigns. Ninety-six percent of marketers now promote social media in their emails, and in 2013, Pinterest had the greatest year-over-year increase. Pinterest is now being promoted by 64% of brands within emails.

After visiting Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest, consumers are visiting Amazon.com more frequently than any other retailer website.

Social media continues to grow as an influential source of traffic for retail sites, and it’s important that marketers understand what is driving customers to their web page," said Tancer. "Amazon is clearly benefitting from this trend across all of the major social networks.”

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News

GameStop fails to meet analysts’ expectations again

BY CSA STAFF

GameStop CEO Paul Raines remained optimistic about the company’s fourth quarter results, saying that the launch of new consoles in 2013 marked the return of innovation to the video game category and that the company’s market share increased to an all-time high.

“Our emerging digital and mobile businesses, which did not exist three years ago, surpassed $1 billion of revenue,” he said. “As we push forward into 2014, both the re-energized video game category and our new Technology Brands business unit provide us with solid growth opportunities in the consumer electronics and wireless markets.”

Total global sales for the quarter were $3.68 billion, a 3.4% increase compared to $3.56 billion in the 14-week prior year quarter. Consolidated comparable store sales increased 7.8% compared to the prior year quarter. The company credited the growth in sales and comps to the successful launches of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4.

But shares of the company reportedly fell as much as 9.3%, because the company once again failed to meet analysts’ expectations.

Net earnings were $220.5 million, compared to net earnings of $261.1 million in the prior year quarter. Diluted earnings per share were $1.89 compared to diluted earnings per share of $2.15 in the prior year quarter.

For the full year, total global sales were $9.04 billion, a 1.7% increase compared to $8.89 billion in fiscal 2012. Full year consolidated comparable store sales increased 3.8% compared to fiscal 2012, primarily driven by a 29.7% increase in new video game hardware sales related to the launches of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4.

New video game software and pre-owned and value products sales declined 2.8% and 4.1%, respectively. Until the fourth quarter, these two categories were impacted by limited new title releases and a decrease in store traffic. Mobile and consumer electronics sales, which include Technology Brands revenues, increased 51.6% over 2012.

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REAL ESTATE

H&M to open two new retail formats in U.S.

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M said on Thursday it will debut two of its newer retail formats, COS and & Other Stories, in the United States this year.

H&M will open its first COS U.S. location this April in New York City’s SoHo area. A second U.S. store will open later this year, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The retailer’s & Other Stories banner will make its U.S. debut this fall, opening a store in downtown Manhattan.

H&M isn’t neglecting its namesake brand, which will open two new flagships in Manhattan this year, on Fifth Avenue and Herald Square respectively. In all, the company will open 375 stores around the world in 2014.

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