July 2012 UK Facebook Commerce Index (UK FBCI)
July has been another busy month in the UK FBCI, with an additional 1,238,941 fans being added to our Top 25 table alone. This month we saw some dramatic movement once again in our Top 25, caused by just two brands; Amazon and eBay.
With growth slowing to just 2% for 5 of our top 6 retailers, Amazon and eBay shook up the Top 25 with an enormous 58% and 47% growth respectively. We are really enjoying tracking these two marketplace giants and comparing and contrasting their Facebook efforts. Amazon jumped up 6 places in just 31 days, and eBay 7 places – moving into 6th and 13th positions respectively. This shifted a number of our Top 25 down a place in the middle of the table.
However, not everyone dropped down, with Argos managing to increase a position with an impressive 13% growth over the month of July; from 19th to 18th in our table.
Last month we did a focus piece on Amazon, but it’s well worth pointing out the scale of its growth over July – an increase of over 331,000 fans (that’s equivalent to nearly 11,000 fans per day)! We pointed out last month that we felt Amazon's increasing social focus was having an impact (which it clearly is); however ,we simply cannot deny Amazon’s growing retail dominance which seems to be spilling over into the social space.
With so many brands keeping their walls private, eBay has taken the step to allow comments to be posted freely. Unlike so many of the brands who don’t manage this channel effectively from a customer service standpoint, eBay is very effective at answering questions and responding to comments. If on occasion there is negative feedback, eBay responds graciously, in a positive way and with humour.
Not only is eBay responding to posts, it is also busy posting comments of its own – on a variety of topics – such as its self-proclaimed “Summer of Sport” launch and a very topical post on wedding presents, and again, all is done with good humour and fun.
All in all, an excellent job eBay!
While Burton is some way out of our Top 25, it had a really strong month in July. Burton increased its fan count by 27%, taking its total to over 80,000. Traditionally, our Index is dominated by typically female fashion-focussed brands (even companies such as M&S have a very female-oriented Facebook timeline), Topman being the obvious exception, so it is great to see Burton experience a nice increase this month.
There is a clear reason for the increase ; Burton ran a huge competition with a chance to meet Amir Khan this month, which was very popular amongst fans. More generally speaking Burton do a really good job at managing its Facebook timeline and engaging fans, with relatively little emphasis on selling and more focus on things like the “Knowledge Blog” which are a great way to showcase products and promotions and start conversations – these do seem to work and are a really nice regular feature.
One particularly popular feature here at ChannelAdvisor for the month of July is the novelty pants feature which was nicely Olympic-themed, as well just before the start of the Games.
One thing that struck us here at ChannelAdvisor when compiling this report is that, whilst WH Smith has snuck into our Top 25 in terms of percentage growth this month with 7% additional fans, we were very surprised to see that such a well-known high street brand has only 2798 fans on Facebook.
So why is this? A look at its page gives a clear indication that WH Smith is not regularly monitoring its Facebook page; its timeline is littered with negative comments and customer complaints.
Further proof that WH Smith does not have a regular team monitoring this page is in the irregularity of the posting over the month of July, and there’s just very little customer engagement encouraged. Even competitions such as the Richard & Judy Book Club giveaway garnered just one fan.
A large brand such as WHSmith could definitely do with putting some effort into its page if they want to use this as a channel in which to grow positive customer feedback and loyalty. We'll keep monitoring in coming months and see if this changes.
The other stalwart of the multichannel retail world, Argos, has also refused to be outdone by the cut and thrust of eBay and Amazon’s stride up the ChannelAdvisor Facebook Index, recording an impressive 13% increase (roughly 54,000 fans) in July. This growth results in a climb of one place in the overall rankings and sitting pretty in fifth place in the month’s Top Growers list, with a cumulative fan-count of 483,000.
Argos has long been at the forefront of online customer engagement, convenience retailing and keen pricing, and its Facebook page ensures that those core competencies are well and truly in attendance.
Not only does Argos have links to its new catalogue, discount ranges and the latest Autumn/Winter range (let’s not wish the summer away just yet…!), but one of its biggest coups to date has been to leverage the public’s love of celebrity – Emma Bunton is the face of its children’s clothing range, and there is plenty of evidence of that sprinkled throughout the site.
As usual, competitions rule the roost in terms of garnering extra fans along the way, and Argos has seen the obvious benefits of a golden year for the UK – Queen’s Jubilee, Olympics and all – by launching their ‘Celebrate 2012’ competition - only accessible via an embedded Facebook app.
Chain Reaction Cycles
There’s nothing like a summer of sport to boost a sporting retailer’s profile. Chain Reaction Cycles has been particularly fortunate of late to have not one but two major cycling events in recent weeks help the company push its impressive cycling brand to new limits.
The Tour de France (won, even more conveniently, by a Brit) and the various medals picked up by Team GB in the Olympic Velodrome has certainly been a useful vehicle for this multichannel retailer’s brand and product offering.
Still in 14th position overall in our Index, Chain Reaction Cycles has nevertheless gained some ground on the leaders, growing by 9% and around 52,000 fans; meaning it is in seventh position in our Top Growers list, a really great effort.
Chain Reaction Cycles also leveraged the local and very real zest amongst the public for the UK’s sporting prowess this July, by publicising local events – including Cornwall’s ‘Festival of Sport’ this coming September.
Coupled with a really responsive and energetic page, this very ‘now’ bicycle-retailing outfit has made the most of current events, and a timely reminder of the powers of social networking if used in the right way. A big thumbs-up to Chain Reaction Cycles this month!
That's all for this month, we've really enjoyed watching eBay and Amazon dominate our charts. We'll be back again next month and will expect to see a lot of Olympic posts after an exciting August in London!