Friday, March 2, 2012

PUMA on Pinterest....

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

PUMA are on Pinterest already and are ahead of competitors Nike and Adidas on followers, boards and pins.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Five Brands Engaging Like Pros on Pinterest

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Zenith Comment:  Good write up that shows 5 brands that have been early adopters of Pinterest and are engaging with their consumers where they are and with great ideas.  Gap is obviously the relevant brand here for PUMA.  Pinterest is a great way of showing products to consumers and getting them to share with their friends.  Definitely something that Global PUMA should be considering if they aren't already.
Pinterest, a virtual pin board, is no longer just for individuals who pin what they love for potential home decorating, weddings, and recipes…it has become a mecca of fashion, design, consumer engagement, photo sharing, and more with brands and consumers alike. It’s a phenomenal platform for consumer brands to share what they have to offer in visually pleasing ways, as well as demonstrate appreciation for users who already talk about the brand, by re-pinning what those consumers already pinned. Whether it’s showing consumers taking part with the brand, introducing new products, campaigns, themes, or pictures iconic of the brand itself, Pinterest definitely has some legs to stick around when it comes to consumer-brand engagement.
Below are five brands, which have made other lists, and I believe are utilizing Pinterest for the value it can offer and showing their fans and consumers they aren’t just a brand name, but care to be involved with their consumers, offer cool content, and engage more personally…

1. Gap

The Gap on Pinterest has a few different boards including products they make, a focus on denim, but what sparked my interest was the board which was just about repins from other Pinterest users, “popular Gap images on Pinterest.” It’s a great way for the brand to engage with users as well as demonstrate the brand’s appreciation

2. Whole Foods

Whole Foods  takes it to a whole other level when it comes to sharing content via Pinterest. Not only do they talk about holiday preparations for food such as the not too long ago Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, but they also provide other inspirational boards. They aren’t just talking about food they have and offer, but creative spins on food as well as forging there way into adjacent categories which would be of interest to people who care about food, cook often, and put real effort into the preparation that goes into it. Hat tip to Whole Foods for not just talking about their own products.

3. Nordstrom

Nordstrom has gone beyond the regular department store image and demonstrated to consumers they care to offer more than just being a brick and mortar retailer. On their Pinterest page, Nordstrom does categorize products they have now, but they keep it current, looking forward, and fresh. In addition they offer holiday gift ideas and even feature popular brands such as Ugg and Toms, both of which have demonstrated they are not a fleeting trend. However, I do think it would be cool if Nordstrom would take a step further and crowdsource some content for boards such as people wearing Toms or giving holiday gift tips from Nordstrom. Perhaps make it a contest in order to make even more contagious.

4. Travel Channel

The cool thing about the Travel Channel on Pinterst is that avid watchers of the channel will be pumped to see stuff categorized for their interests. Interested in street food or animals from around the world…search no more. Want to get to see a personal side of the channel and its people? Check out some behind the scenes pictures which they bucket away and pin on a board just for those special seekers. The pictures are vivid, personable, and fun. Perhaps another board could be one of people’s travels or food they’ve tried from around the world…engaging a step further with consumer generated content.

5. West Elm

The numbers I look at first when I go to a brand page on Pinterst is whether the brand just pins, or do they also “like” and “follow” others on the platform. West Elm has some of the most “likes” I’ve seen among brands. Not only do they show different interior design ideas, but they also have a board for fashion and interior design savvy, Etsy, as well as a board for a personal take – Smile Booth. This board allowed West Elm to show its employees during parties, as well as guests, consumers, and fans of the brand. I always believe in humanizing the brand, and having a board like this one is definitely a good example.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Can f-commerce work for retailers?

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Zenith Comment:  Bit of an essay this one but I thought it was definitely worth posting, keeping with the theme over the last couple of weeks of the posts on f-commerce.  Worth a read when you have a spare 5 minutes.  Interesting points on usability of f-commerce apps but at the same time Facebook is driving quality traffic to retailer sites.

Thanks to the sheer size of the audience alone, it's clear that f-commerce has potential for retailers, but some brands are now deciding that the returns aren't worth the effort. 

So, does this mean f-commerce won't work for retailers or are they simply not trying hard enough? 
I've been speaking to some retailers using Facebook, as well as looking for examples of f-commerce working for small businesses. 

The problems with f-commerce


From a consumer perspective, there are a number of usability issues with f-commerce apps.
Take ASOS for example. As we have documented on this blog, ASOS is a great example of usability best practice, but its f-commerce app can't quite match these standards. 
The lack of the back button is a pain. while the fact that the site is squeezed into an area which roughly equates to half of the page doesn't help either. 
It's also slow when compared to the main site, with a noticeable delay when loading pages. According to stats, a one second delay in page response can mean a 7% reduction in conversions. 
This is not to single out ASOS, which is actually one of the better Facebook apps, but it cannot match the experience on its main site within the confines of a Facebook app. 
Essentially, when a user friendly site is just a click away, shoppers are being asked to make purchases through an inferior version. 

Are people in buying mode on Facebook? 

Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru observed that selling to consumers on Facebook is "like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar". 
This may not be true of everyone, but people are less likely to be in the mood to make a purchase on Facebook. 

It isn't delivering the returns for some retailers

Lyle & Scott opened its f-commerce site last year, and its essentially the mobile site repurposed for Facebook.   
This approach meant the f-commerce store was cost effective to set up and maintain, though Head of E-commerce Will Dymott hasn't been impressed with the results. 
It has been a bit of a damp squib to be honest. We’re pleased we didn’t pay anything for it. If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s basically our mobile site, and therefore easy to update and maintain, we wouldn’t be that interested. We have got a few sales through it, but not enough to justify any further investment. 
The fashion brand has 50,000 followers on Facebook, and this following has grown without being incentivised through competitions or other such methods. Will also points out that they are engaged and responsive on the site, and many are active customers. 
Facebook is also a valuable source of traffic for Lyle & Scott, delivering around 4% of total site visits. However, it doesn't convert as well as other channels, accounting for around 2.4% of sales.
According to Will: 
People are not in buying mode when on Facebook. Sales are so small that we would be better advised to spend time and money improving our email or search marketing than ploughing more money onto f-commerce.
It cost very little, so it was certainly worth trying, but we could achieve greater returns by, for example, opening a German language version of our website than spending money improving the f-commerce store. 

Privacy and security concerns

Some stats suggest that concerns about security and privacy are affecting consumer confidence.
According to research80% of UK and US adults are concerned that Facebook isn't a secure environment for online shopping.  
A similar survey from Lightspeed last year found that, due to security concerns, Facebook users would prefer to redeem special offers on a brand's website, rather than through Facebook. 

Can f-commerce work? 

Facebook drives valuable traffic to e-commerce sites

While some retailers are clearly unhappy about the returns from their f-commerce stores, Facebook can work well for retailers, even if the transactions are taking place away from the site. 
It can be an important driver of traffic for brands. For example, in September 2010, 1.9% of traffic to Burberry’s website in September 2010 came from Facebook. One year on, this figure rose to 29.1%. 
Stats from last year found that social media accounts for 3% of traffic to e-commerce sites but many brands, such as ASOS, are doing much better than that.  
So, even if all the transactions aren't taking place on the site, the brand exposure and publicity value (Burberry's perfume launch being a great example of this) are driving traffic to e-commerce sites. 

The importance of exclusivity

Essentially, retailers are putting versions of their e-commerce sites up on Facebook, often with limited ranges and inferior usability. So what is there to motivate customers to use f-commerce stores? 
Retailers need to work harder to give customers a real reason to shop on Facebook. The Lightspeed survey quoted above also found that people would buy from brands on Facebook if products and offers were exclusive to fans. 
For example luxury flash-sale site Gilt Groupe has been offering exclusive sales to Facebook fans. This gives people a real reason to use the brand's Facebook store. 
This article also has some excellent ideas on how retailers can incentivise customers, by treating Facebook fans as a VIP group, as well as offering special gifts and even points to encourage repeat purchases. 

Are retailers working hard enough on f-commerce? 

It is very early days for f-commerce, so brands like Gap may be being too hasty in closing their f-commerce stores.
After all, we're still in the experimental stage. Once the f-commerce experience is optimised for users, people become accustomed to the idea of buying through the site, and lessons are learned, the outlook may be much more positive for retailers. 
One iota CEO Damian Hanson, whose firm has developed f-commerce stores for retailers such as Foot Asylum, echoes this view:
Commerce within Facebook cannot be disputed, especially when you take a look at the social gaming sector. Retail orientated commerce has been slow to gain momentum in the past 12-months and its fair to say it is still in its experimental phase.
Ultimately brands need to work harder on 'in Facebook' product promotion and discovery and consumer adoption will follow. Retailers cannot simply plonk their websites into Facebook via an iframe and expect sales.
We are starting to see good customer demand to provide exclusive offers and deals which are only available within Facebook and to Fans of the brand, we think this type of exclusivity will drive F-commerce adoption in 2012.
Paul Dimmock of CultureLabel, which sells art from galleries and museums, feels that f-commerce is worth persevering with.
Around 100 of its 600 partners (museums, galleries etc) have installed the FB store on their Facebook pages, giving it greater reach and more exposure for its products. 
Though there are limitations, Paul believes that the effort is worthwhile: 
It is a very valuable channel for CultureLabel. We learn a lot from our fans' feedback on our FB page and together with our wish list feature which can also be accessed via the FB shop, we learn what our customers and fans want, what they think is beautiful and what they'd like to see more of. In terms of states we've had approximately 12,000 site visits via FB, with the FB shop driving a lot of that traffic.

F-commerce and small business

While some of the big brands may be getting cold feet, there are examples of f-commerce working for smaller, local businesses
According to Kate Hyslop of, there's a "thriving community of small businesses out there promoting and selling their products and services through Facebook in a successful and dynamic way".
According to Kate: 
Service businesses in particular are doing this very well, businesses such as health and beauty salons, driving instructors, fitness classes, cookery courses and photographers.
So the idea the idea that "Facebook doesn't drive commerce" is essentially a very narrow-minded view of what Facebook commerce actually is. Where as for the big brands perhaps Facebook is just one minor ad-on channel in their multi-channel online strategy, but for the smaller business it can be a very significant part of their marketing, sales and relationship building armoury. 
One example of this comes from Horgis Driving, which allows people to book lessons via Facebook. 
Owner David Horgan believes that Facebook has great value for businesses like his. If someone books lessons with him, then their friends can see that, and are therefore more likely to use him. 
David explains:
Small service businesses have always relied heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations for client acquisition and Facebook has become the defacto sounding board. Tapping into that ready-made network of potential customers is a great way for small, local or service businesses to get themselves directly in front of a sitting audience of other potential new clients, without having to spend on costly and untargeted advertising.
In my experience, the key to successfully using Facebook for a small business is three-fold; really knowing your target audience, ensuring the online-offline experience is seamless, and convenience - being accessible wherever you clients want to find you.

Can Facebook improve the experience?  

It is in Facebook's interests for f-commerce to work, so can it do more to help retailers optimise the experience for users? 
Perhaps it could help retailers to make the most of user data to create a more personalised e-commerce experience on the site. 
If Facebook can increase the opportunities for monetisation on the site and lower the barriers to entry for both consumers and retailers, then take up will increase. 


While there are clearly issues with usability and generally convincing customers to buy via Facebook, there is clearly a lot more that retailers (and Facebook) can do to make f-commerce work. 
Customers need a reason to use a brand's Facebook store, so retailers need to look at example like Gilt Groupe and find ways to incentivise shoppers.