C-SUITE

Tiffany & Co. names veteran retailer as chairman

BY Marianne Wilson

Tiffany & Co. has named Roger Farah as chairman, effective Oct. 2.

Farah, 64, joined Tiffany’s board in March 2017. He succeeds Michael J. Kowalski, who has served as chairman since 2002.

Kowalski, who served as CEO of Tiffany from 1999 until his retirement in March 2015, has been acting as interim CEO since February 2017. He will relinquish that title when the company’s newly appointed CEO, Alessandro Bogliolo, takes the reins in October.

Farah has served in leadership roles at Ralph Lauren Corp. Venator Group, R.H. Macy & Co., Inc. and Federated Merchandising Services.

“Roger has significant experience as a leader in the luxury retail industry, and I and my fellow directors value tremendously his expertise and insight which have been apparent during his time on the board," Kowalski said. "With the appointment of Alessandro as our new CEO, and under Roger’s leadership on the board, I believe we are well positioned to execute on strategies to drive comparable store sales growth and stronger earnings growth in the longer-term.”

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ECOMMERCE

Forrester: Online holiday spending to increase by double digits over last year

BY Marianne Wilson

Overall positive economic conditions will propel retail sales online as well as of offline this coming holiday season.

That's according to a report by Forrester, which predicts that U.S. online holiday sales will grow 12% to reach $129 billion in 2017, compared to $115 billion last year. Offline holiday sales will inch up 0.3%, to reach $549 billion in 2017.

The total number of online holiday buyers in the U.S. will be 3% higher this year than it was last year, the report said. But the real firing power behind this year’s higher online holiday sales is increased spending. Online holiday shoppers will spend an average of $689, which is 8% more than in the 2016 holiday season.

With just four to six weeks to go before the official start of the 2017 holiday season, retailers must optimize service and functionality to deliver the best bang for their buck. Given the tight timeline, Forrester recommends that retailers focus their efforts on four key areas.

"Capping off months of planning, retailers must focus on four priorities before the holiday season kicks off," the report said. "Review your omnichannel fulfillment processes, re-tune your marketing plans, streamline your mobile checkout process, and craft your performance management strategy.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

The top fast-fashion brands that are killing it on social media are…

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Visual content has made H&M, Topshop/Topman Forever21 the most successful social media brands in the competitive fast-fashion industry.

This was according to data from visual content performance platform ShareIQ. The analysis digs into the data for the first three quarters of 2017 among the top brands in the fast-fashion category in the United States: H&M, Forever21, Uniqlo, Gap, Old Navy, Topshop/Topman, Zara, Mango and American Apparel.

Brands are sharing visual content on social media platforms in hopes of better engaging customers on Pinterest, Instagram and across the web. H&M has 974 engagements per image (EPI), about 20 times the content performance of the lowest-performing brands, such as Mango (52 EPI), Gap (48 EPI) and American Apparel (41 EPI). Also topping the list are Topshop/Topman with 596 EPI, Forever21 (397 EPI), Zara (190 EPI) and Uniqlo (161 EPI). Old Navy trailed with 70 EPI.

When it comes to visual content, imagery with varied backgrounds is more engaged with than “static” lookbook-style photos. Meanwhile, brands with smart seeding strategies see a greater return on their visual content investment. Among the winners in this strategy are:

Forever21, with a tremendous 53 million Instagram engagements from just 1,017 posts.

H&M achieved 39 million Instagram engagements from only 486 posts.

Zara got just 1.9 million engagements from 1,700 images.

The tale was different on Pinterest, with Zara getting more than five times the number of repins (shares) per image as Forever21.

Data also revealed that the secret to social media engagement isn’t follower count. For example, Zara has a 16.6 million follower count on Instagram, but only converted that into 12.7 million engagements. Forever21 has 13.5 million followers, and with a smart strategy leveraged that into 53 million engagements.

H&M, Zara, and Forever21 have about same number of followers on Pinterest, but don’t convert that into high Pinterest engagement. Forever21 still does better than the rest. Finally, Uniqlo, Mango, and everyone else have small numbers of followers and negligible Pinterest engagement.

“People engage with and buy from brands that share compelling visual content in authentic ways,” said Brian Killen, founder and CEO of ShareIQ.

“The brands that are winning and getting real ROI on Instagram, Pinterest and other social platforms put exciting ‘lifestyle’-type images in the feeds of real influencers who get high engagement — not just celebrities,” he added. “And, we’re seeing marketers recognize this opportunity to create and target new audiences from those who engage with their content and convert sharers and likers into buyers.”

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