Note: The ChannelAdvisor Facebook Commerce Index is a new way of tracking Facebook Commerce introduced by ChannelAdvisor in the USA in February of 2011. You can read the background information, schedule, etc. in this introductory post. The UK version was launched in May 2011.
May 2012 ChannelAdvisor UK Facebook Commerce Index
This May marks the one year anniversary of the ChannelAdvisor UK Facebook Commerce Index. We’ve progressively watched fan counts grow over the past 12 months, and have seen the an increase of 15 million fans. Along with our monthly company spotlight, we’ve included a summary of the top three most successful strategies employed by brands and retailers across the UK.
This month, we saw some really big, established Facebook brands experience significant growth, certainly greater than average. Fashion and home retailer Next jumped over the 100,000 Likes threshold (as expected from last month), while Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Amazon.co.uk added the highest number of fans (totalling an astounding 190,009 between them). Many of our larger high street brands experienced double digit percentage growth, such as John Lewis (10%), Tesco (10%), Dorothy Perkins (12%), Asda (15%) and Clarks (18%). Overall, our Index grew by 5% between the 1st of May and 1st of June.
A regular fixture around the lower end of our Top 25, John Lewis saw its number of Likes increase by over 40,000 during the month of May – a 10% increase that helped it climb three places to number 15 in our Top 25.
One of the UK’s most recognised retailers, John Lewis has extended its renowned customer service approach to Facebook with great success. John Lewis’ page is clean and uncluttered with images that well represent the John Lewis branding, and all of which are with its in-store messaging.
There seems to be no one single driving force behind John Lewis’ surge in Likes – although competitions play a significant part, with a number of great giveaways taking place over the month. Naturally, John Lewis was flying the Jubilee flag over the month of May as well, with products and competitions to get followers in the Jubilee spirit.
One thing that really stands out on the John Lewis page is that while shoppers/fans cannot directly post on the wall (only in response to John Lewis posts), there is a real sense of brand loyalty from John Lewis’ Facebook fans and an equal level of commitment from the John Lewis team, who respond diligently to comments and questions.
Keep it up John Lewis, and you’ll soon be hitting the Top 10 of our Facebook Commerce Index!
Another very well-known high street brand here in the UK, Clarks, had a successful month with an 18% increase in fan count. Clarks may sit outside our Top 25, but with over 87,000 fans, there is no denying it has a successful and engaging Facebook strategy.
Like John Lewis (and many other brands we have mentioned in previous blog posts), Clarks has a clean page that mimics the Clarks’ in-store branding and own website nicely. Clarks’ Facebook team are also doing a great job at regularly engaging fans and sharing both product information and general stories/updates – and of course the all important competitions!
And speaking of which, Clarks launched a big competition towards the end of May for fans to win a pair of shoes each week.
Of course, Clarks as a British brand has also been employing a British theme on Facebook, with Jubilee posts and some really nice coverage of the Olympic Torch Relay passing its HQ in Somerset. While unrelated to its product, this is a great example of how Facebook doesn’t just have to be all about “sell, sell, sell”.
Continuing the shoes theme, Clarks were not the only shoe retailer to do well in our Index this month – AllSole.com and Schuh shot into our Top Growers by % table, adding 34% and 29% further fans over May. AllSole.com is a relatively new brand (founded in 2010) selling designer footwear, but has discovered the all important secret to growing the number of fans on Facebook… yes, you guessed it – competitions!
Superdrug sneaked over the 200,000 fans mark in May, so we wanted to share some insights into its Facebook page to see what is bringing fans to it. Superdrug takes a very friendly approach to its Facebook page, and although its design (like any good Timeline) mirrors the Superdrug branding , the Superdrug team has a much more liberal approach to posting comments and pictures than some other brands we’ve seen in our Index.
This approach is a lot more relaxed and less “salesy”, but still keeps the Superdrug brand high in its followers’ Facebook news feed. By focusing on fashion/celebrity, the brand is less “pharmacy” and therefore perhaps more appealing to the younger audience.
Superdrug excels in its competitions and these are incredibly successful, particularly with “Freebie Fridays”. These are a great way to regularly post a competition, thus encouraging fans to be waiting for these to pop up in their Timelines.
A year’s worth of fan acquisition…highlights and trends
After 12 months tracking retailers of all sizes across the UK, we have substantial insight into which retailer’s tactics are dominating the social scene. From May 2011 to May 2012, we’ve added over 15 million fans to our Index.
By analysing fan growth three different ways – top pages, top growers and top % growers – we’ve been able to determine some of the most successful techniques for reaching new audiences. Some of the most successful Like generating campaigns that have worked in the past 12 months are those that simply engage Facebook users through:
- Customer service outreach
- Relationship building
- Rewards for loyal customers
Retailers of all sizes across our Index use Facebook primarily as a customer engagement tool. At first glance, this may seem like a simple approach. However, to create a meaningful relationship with your fans you need to actively enter discussions and post questions and polls. Showing appreciation to your audience is also a great way of building trust and brand loyalty.
Asda, Tesco and ASOS are examples of brands that successfully adopt this strategy. From allowing fans to shape designs and recipes, to posting themed and personality-based posts, each of these retailers has created an appealing social media presence.
While fan acquisition is important for many retailers, do not lose sight of current fans. Many of the Top 25 brands offer discounts and loyalty incentives for Facebook friends. Competitions are one of the primary tools used by the retailers in our Index to grow fans. Each month, our analysis points to at least one company who has soared up our Index as a result of a successful competition.
Competitions have become all the more successful with Facebook’s new Timeline format. Anything temporal (with a fixed start and end date) works particularly well, so it will be interesting to see if there will be an increase in success over the coming months as more retailers realise the full potential of the new format.
Retailers of all sizes are becoming creative in the way they promote products on Facebook. Rather than placing their entire product offering onto their Facebook page, retailers are curating a selection of products into seasonal specials, themed promotions or daily deals, aiming to educate fans and drive traffic back to their website.
Topshop, the leader in our Index from the start, is one of the most successful retailers employing this strategy. Topshop regularly groups its products together into fashion trends, matching items or seasonal themes and with a fun narrative and images succeeds in driving traffic back to its website in an unobtrusive manner. With other apparel retailers recently adopting this approach, it will be interesting to see whether Topshop will continue to dominate the charts in the coming months!
That’s it for this month’s UK Facebook Commerce Index. We’ll be back next month with analysis of June’s movers and shakers!