PetFlow finds Facebook footing
Chicago — For pure play premium pet food and accessories retailer PetFlow, online marketing is a crucial component of its business. Initially, PetFlow used Google AdWords to direct consumers searching for specific pet products to its site. However, as PetFlow co-founder Alex Zhardanovsky told the audience during a morning keynote session at the Internet Retailer Conference in Chicago, initial efforts by the retailer to expand its online marketing activities to Facebook did not work so well.
“Google is not like Facebook, the consumer is searching with purchase intent,” said Zhardanovsky. “Facebook users aren’t sitting there with a credit card on their desk.”
After initial efforts to develop Facebook fans and convert them to customers wound up costing $300-$400 per customer, PetFlow found an answer in the Facebook Best Practices Guide. The company started targeting its core customers, who were higher income female animal lovers age 40 and older, by targeting consumers who had “liked” other retailers such as Amazon.com, Saks and Neiman Marcus. Within two months, PetFlow jumped from 10,000 to 200,000 Facebook fans.
To affordably and effectively convert those fans into customers and evangelists, PetFlow began running funny ads with cute animalphotos that customers voluntarily reposted, liked, commented upon and shared, vastly extending the reach of the ads at no extra cost to PetFlow.
“Facebook advertising lives on,” said Zhardanovsky. “We’re still generating sales today from ads we posted weeks or months ago. Less active users post an ad and it remains at the top of their page for a long time.”
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Limited Brands May net sales rise
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Limited Brands reported net sales of $737 million for May 2013, an increase of nearly 10% from $672 million for the same period last year. The company reported a comparable store sales increase of 3% for May from the same period last year.
For the 17-week period ended June 1, the company reported net sales of $3 billion, an increase of 6% from $2.8 billion for the same period last year. Meanwhile, comparable store sales increased 3% for the 17-week period, versus the same period last year.
Limited Brands, through Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel, is an international company. The company operates 2,616 specialty stores in the United States and its brands are sold in more than 700 company-operated and franchised additional locations worldwide.
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Costco’s same store sales rise but run out of gas
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco reported net sales of $8.1 billion for May 2013, an increase of 7% from $7.6 billion during the same period last year.
For the 39-week period ended June 2, the company reported net sales of $77 billion, an increase of 8% from $71 billion during the same period last year.
The company’s same-store sales rose 5% in May, but they were lower than anticipated because of the negative impact of changes in gasoline prices and foreign exchange rates.
Costco currently operates 627 warehouses, including 449 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 33 in Mexico, 24 in the United Kingdom, 15 in Japan, 9 in Taiwan, 9 in Korea and 3 in Australia. The company plans to open up to an additional 9 new warehouses prior to the end of its fiscal year on September 1. Costco also operates three e-commerce sites.
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