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Threadless tweets into action

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago — Omnichannel specialty apparel retailer Threadless takes an active approach to Twitter marketing that has resulted in significant lifts in site traffic and customer engagement. At the recent Internet Retailer conference in Chicago, representatives from Threadless and Twitter discussed how retailers can get more from their Twitter campaigns.

“Every tweet was a call to action,” said Threadless Marketing Director Todd Lido. “We were seeing growth but it felt like the strategy was getting stale.”

To breathe some fresh air into its Twitter marketing efforts, Threadless, which operates a single store in Chicago as well as Internet and mobile commerce channels, started using more imagery as well as short videos created with the Vine mobile service and produced a 40% lift in site traffic. Lido said the fact the retailer carefully planned this strategy before implementing it was a key factor in its success.

“It’s pretty important you plan your Twitter content,” he stated. “Lay out tentpoles, milestones like store openings and product launches, and prepare tweets around them.”

Lido also suggested retailers offer customers a look behind the scenes using Twitter images and videos.

“Companies can come off as monolithic to consumers,” he said. “They appreciate knowing who’s behind the curtain.”

Lido gave a real-life example of a recent Twitter campaign Threadless ran that tied into the release of the superhero blockbuster “Iron Man 3.”

“We ran a design challenge related to the ‘Iron Man 3’ launch in mid-April, before the movie came out,” said Lido. “We targeted those who were tweeting about the movie.”

Results of this highly targeted campaign included a 2% engagement rate, compared with the .07% average engagement rate of Twitter promotions, and a sales lift that was 27 times normal volume.

Russ Laraway, director of SMB sales for Twitter, added some more insight into how retailers can attract more attention with Twitter campaigns.

“First get the content down, then add voice, then hit tweet,” Laraway advised.

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Walgreens reaches $80M settlement with DEA

BY Staff Writer

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens will pay $80 million as part of a settlement with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) over a failure to report unusually large shipments of prescription painkillers from a distribution center in Jupiter, Fla. Six Walgreens pharmacies in Florida received tens of thousands of orders for regulated painkillers that were up three times the normal size, but the distribution center did not report them to the DEA as they were required to by law.

In a press release, Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness for Walgreens, said his company has resolved all administrative and civil matters relating to this investigation with the settlement.

“As part of the agreement with DEA and our continuing desire to work with DEA to combat prescription drug abuse, we have identified specific compliance measures – many of which Walgreens has already taken – to enhance our ordering processes and inventory systems, to provide our team members with the tools, training and support they need to ensure the appropriate dispensing of controlled substances and to improve collaboration across the industry,” said Crawford.

The distribution center that sparked the DEA probe is banned from distributing and dispensing controlled substances until 2014 and the settlement also resolves investigations into the distribution of painkillers from Walgreens distribution centers in Colorado, New York and Michigan. Walgreens expects the settlement will cause a negative impact on its third quarter stock price of four to six-cents per share.

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New CIO for health supplement e-retailer

BY CSA STAFF

MIAMI — PureFormulas, a growing e-retailer that offers natural health supplements, has appointed William Perez as its CIO. Perez is a 17-year veteran in the technology world with 13 years of experience in the Internet operation space.

“We’re excited to welcome Willy to the team,” said CEO José Prendes. “He will be instrumental in our continued growth strategy and will help take our entire interactive operation and customer experience to the next level.”

Prior to joining PureFormulas, Perez served as VP of technology at HolaDoctor, where he led the development and hosting of the largest Hispanic Health website in the United States. Previous to HolaDoctor, William was the VP of technology/CTO at Goal.com, the largest dedicated soccer portal in the world. There he oversaw all aspects of technology as the company grew from 80 million to more than 270 million page views monthly, reached 10 million monthly unique visitors, and launched websites in 17 languages using open source technology. Perez also worked at Univision Interactive Media for eight years, where he ran their CMS and other systems that powered Univision.com, the largest Hispanic web portal in the United States. Perez has a BA in business administration from Florida International University.

PureFormulas was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Miami, Fla.

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