This Spotlight on Social Commerce series is brought to you by Bazaarvoice, bringing the power of social commerce to the world’s best brands. Once a month, this blog will focus on the tactics, best practices and trends on the intersection of social media and commerce.
Outdoor-clothing retailer Moosejaw uses Facebook to showcase a digital catalog that’s tied to its online store. I talked with Moosejaw’s Gary Wohlfeill to learn more about how the company approaches online retail and how social channels fit into its plans. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.
How and why did Moosejaw decide to integrate its catalog into Facebook?
It’s not necessarily like deciding [what] our strategy is in each channel, it’s more about taking … what’s working the best in any channel and making it available across channels. … We feel very strongly about our print catalog. We feel like it’s one of the best things we do … [and] it’s great to have that for the Facebook page as well.
Why did you decide to integrate your catalog into Facebook, instead of integrating Facebook into your catalog on your website?
We’re definitely looking in 2011 to get the “Like” buttons up on Moosejaw.com as well as into our digital versions of our catalogs. I think to begin with, it was just an integration issue. We just didn’t have time this year to get [the “Like” button] up. The flip side is that to get the catalog on Facebook, 1) was easy, and 2) it’s about meeting customers on the channels they want to be interacting with your brand at and not to try to force them into channels that they don’t want to be on. Instead of trying to force our Facebook users to another website that had Facebook integration, we want to meet them where they’re comfortable. So having our catalog up on our Facebook fan page, I think, does that.
Do customers approaching the brand through Facebook shop differently than customers who come to you through other channels? Are your Facebook customers a representative sample of your customer base?
We don’t do a lot of promotional material. We’re not going on about sales on Facebook. So there’s not a ton of great data there. I do think that a lot of the stuff that we do, including out catalog on Facebook, as well as our print catalog — it’s really designed as a drive to [the website]. We … sell a lot the same stuff as our competitors. … We really aren’t able to compete only on price or only on first-to-market. Because a lot of people sell the same stuff. So it’s really important for us to try to sell ourselves on [what’s unique about our brand]. I think that we do that on Facebook, we do that on Twitter, we do that in our catalog — and what that’s really meant to do is drive you to our website, in order to sort of flesh out your shopping experience.
Do you see social commerce — whether it’s on Facebook or on another channel — as just a complement to your Web presence, or as a second destination?
We look at the social channels as a place to interact with the Moosejaw brand and that we’re not looking at it right now as a channel to generate individual sales. We really want to expose our fans on Facebook, our followers on Twitter to the brand and sort of to our perspective on the product that we sell. But we’re not looking to create a checkout feature on Facebook for Moosejaw at this time. We really want to keep those channels, right now, about the brand and about being social, about having real conversations with customers and not just having a secondary, or a third or fourth, cart out there.
There’s been a debate going for some time over whether offering users some form of monetary incentive — like some sort of discount — for following you on social channel is a good thing or a bad thing. What’s your take on that?
I think our customer, right now, isn’t looking for that on these channels. We are able to leverage our loyalty program, to sort of get people over that first hurdle. But what we’re actually offering is … like 100 [loyalty] points [is worth] $1. So it’s not about giving away free stuff, is more just about gaining points for something. … It’s really more of a conversation, because we want customers to get to know the personality of the brand. And sometimes the points are a nice little bribe to get them over that first hurdle. But I don’t see it as simply paying our customers to interact with us.
What metrics or strategic principles are you using to make these decisions?
We do a lot of surveying of our customers, to see what the strengths of the website, the mobile site or our social channels are … and those shows us that certain things are really important — the rewards program being one of them, customer reviews being another. So we’re able to determine what’s working and what people think is important through those means. It’s more direct and more statistical. But then [on] the flip side, we’re able to see what works when we send out a text to our list and we get a 42% response rate or we send out a question in one of our e-mails … and we get 2,000 responses in the first two days. And then you can tell what people are interested in and what engages them.
Do you know what share of your sales end up coming through social channels?
We understand that customers really don’t think in terms of channels. They’re using multiple channels in multiple ways, day to day, without even thinking about it. … So we do ask people, “How have you engaged with Moosejaw?” … And we’re able to take that segment of engaged customers and see how they act, versus the rest of the survey. And one thing that we saw … is that when we looked at those that were actively engaged versus those that were not, we saw our net promoter score go from 56% for those that weren’t participating to 74% to those that were. Which is a pretty big swing, as far as we’re concerned. Engaging people makes them want to talk about you and makes them tell their friends about the experience they’re having with you.
For more top stories on digital retail commerce, sign up for Shop.org SmartBrief.
Image credit, Henrik5000, iStockPhoto