OPERATIONS

Zappos teams with Kenshoo Social and Shoutlet on Facebook marketing

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — Social marketing platform Kenshoo Social said Wednesday that it has completed an integrated Facebook marketing campaign for Zappos and cloud-based social marketing platform, Shoutlet.

During a two-month test on a single-brand page, Zappos’ Facebook posts generated approximately 85,000 visits to its website. The traffic produced an average order value on par with its paid search and social marketing programs and achieved an average conversion rate of 1.75%.

Through the Kenshoo Social and Shoutlet solution for paid and owned media attribution, Zappos was able to measure Facebook page posts by sales revenue for the first time and identify the value of Facebook as a marketing channel. Leveraging new social media metrics, including revenue per post and revenue per click, Zappos identified the brand’s highest converting Facebook page posts, and the team’s social content managers tailored subsequent posts toward revenue goals.

Additionally, Zappos’ paid social media buyers were able to selectively amplify posts with paid ads based on conversion and revenue data, rather than rely on engagement metrics such as likes and shares, which do not necessarily correlate to sales.

“The conversion attribution solution from Kenshoo Social and Shoutlet allowed the Zappos team to create and amplify synergies between our paid and owned social media strategies,” said Graham Kahr, social scientist at Zappos. “Through integrated reporting, we gained a holistic view of our customer throughout the path to purchase, which has enabled us to better understand the impact of our investments.”

During the campaign, 42% of Zappos’ posts resulted in sales and revenue as measured by Kenshoo Social and Shoutlet. The integrated solution allowed Zappos to more effectively allocate its owned and paid social media marketing resources based on bottom-line revenue generation.

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OPERATIONS

Staples Canada and Alliance Data announce multi-year agreement

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems Corp. announced Thursday that its Canadian loyalty business signed a new multi-year agreement with Staples Canada Inc., which operates about 330 locations under the banners Staples and Bureau en Gros.

Staples Canada joined Alliance’s Air Miles Reward Program, under which reward miles are redeemed for more than 1,000 different rewards. The retailer will launch the program in-store and online in March.

"This partnership represents a great fit with our overall strategic direction and our focus on putting the customer first," said Steve Matyas, president of Staples Canada.

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FINANCE

Retail sales results mixed in January

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Although there were some surprising gains among retailers in January, for the most part results were expectedly mixed, as consumers took a hit on their take-home pay from higher payroll taxes but cooler weather gave a boost to others.

Costco Wholesale Corp. edged Wall Street expectations with a 4% same-store sales increase in January; analysts forecast a 3.9% advance. TJX Cos. reported a 3% rise in monthly same-store sales, and raised its fourth quarter and full-year outlook. Kohl’s shone with a 13.3% rise, but The Buckle widely missed with a 2% drop.

Overall, analysts expect 3.5% same-store sales growth for January across 18 retailers, excluding Walgreens and Rite-Aid, according to Thomson Reuters. That would be down from 4.4% growth in January 2012.

Most of the specialty store players performed well in January. Gap saw same-store sales rise 8% in January, handily beating Wall Street’s expected 4% gain. By brand, same-store sales rose 12% at Old Navy and 8% at both Gap and Banana Republic. Total revenue for the month rose 28% to $1.13 billion.

“We’re pleased with the continued momentum in the business across all our brands in North America,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO, Gap Inc. “As we transition to 2013, our focus remains on delivering compelling product in order to sustain our positive sales performance.”

The Limited also delivered a strong January showing. Same-store sales surged 9%, and total sales rose to $986.4 million from $774.5 million.

Wet Seal, on the other hand, disappointed with a steep same-store sales decline of 9.4%, far wider than the 2.3% drop expected by Wall Street. The struggling retailer found some success with its Arden B chain, which rose 22.8% on a same-store basis, but namesake stores plummeted 13.4%.

Other specialty store results include:

  • The Buckle dropped 2%, while analysts expected a 1.3% gain;
  • Hot Topic rose 2.6%;
  • Cato dropped 12%;
  • Stage rose 10.5%; and
  • Zumiez same-store sales rose 2.6%.
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