Credits New Social Media Features with Double-Digit Increases in Product Page Views and Conversion Rate

Share Article reports double-digit increases in product page views, conversion rate and customer interaction and credits addition of a number of Social Media features to its site. logo

, which Real Time Web thought leader Ken Fromm identifies as a key component to the emerging reports double-digit increases in product page views, conversion rate and customer interaction and credits addition of a number of Social Media features to its site. In May 2009 the site launched a number of new features including the ability to rank, tag and share products customers like or dislike, replicating customer interactivity functions found on many social networking sites. Since the launch, product page views per visit have increased 56%, conversion rate has increased 37% and customer interactions on product pages have increased 128%. Noting that referrals from Social Networking sites have also increased, Vice President, General Manager Frank Malsbenden views these initial results as a positive trend that "makes us want to continue to expand on the concept of social shopping not only on but on our other online properties as well."

Malsbenden and his team recognized the effectiveness of increasing customer interaction online when an initial test showed that product pages on featuring product videos converted at a higher rate than products without video. After increasing the number of product videos on the site from 100 to 400 the team looked to expand the concept by adding "Love It", "Hate It", "Tag It" and "Share It" buttons to all product pages. While the "Love it" and "Hate it" buttons allow customers to rank which shoes they like and dislike, the "Tag it" option allows customers to enter a term they would like to associate with that product. The "Share" button allows customers to send a link to the product page they are on directly to a friend, along with their own message. The new buttons are placed prominently on the page, just below the "add to cart" button.

With an understanding of the power of consumer-generated content, the team added ways to track and show customer generated content globally so it could be shared with all visitors. A "Recent Activity" section on the product page charts the number of people who have "loved", "hated" and "shared" the same style. Clicking on the hyperlinks within the Recent Activity section takes customers to a global view of "Products our customers LOVE", "Products our customers HATE" and "Products our customers SHARED". Customers can also zero in only on their own activity in the "My Activity" section. On the product page, "My Activity" reflects any actions the customer has taken in relation to the specific product featured on that page, but clicking the "My Activity" link takes customers to a global view of their interactions on the site as a whole, listing "Products I LOVE", "Products I HATE", Products I've TAGGED", "Products I've SHARED". The "Products I've Tagged section" lists not only the products the customer has tagged, but includes the specific terms that customer has tagged the product with.

Consumer-generated content has proven to enhance the success of e-commerce websites including that of, and Malsbenden believes that the new features take consumer-generated content to the next level. "Features long utilized by such as customer reviews and the Return-O-Meter have resulted in content more relevant to visitor goals than just retailer-provided descriptions and imagery. Now, with these new features is providing hyper-relevant content, because the features are interactive and the results of the interactions are displayed in real-time." He continues, "When you give visitors the opportunity to interact, every interaction becomes a data point. When you aggregate these data points and display them in fun ways, in real time, not only is the data consumer-generated and immediate, but it carries with it an "explicit social graph", which Real Time Web thought leader Ken Fromm identifies as a key component to the emerging "Real Time Web". The Real Time Web is something we're watching closely and that's what we're laying the foundation for with the incorporation of these new social shopping features."

The team encouraged adoption of the new features through contests and giveaways executed on social networks including Facebook and Twitter. "We knew this audience would be familiar with this type of functionality, but also saw it as an opportunity to connect with the newest breed of online shoppers, who expect increased levels of interaction, connectedness and personalization online" explains Malsbenden.

An initial promotion encouraged Twitter followers to tag a shoe with their twitter name - thus teaching followers how to tag products while allowing the site to identify a winner by name. Another giveaway helped spread the word of the new features virally by asking followers to get their friends to "Love" or "Hate" a shoe they chose and rewarding a free pair to the person whose shoe received the most "Loves" and "Hates".

While the promotions succeeded in increasing use of the new features, since the launch, visits from Social Networking sites are up. "Where weekly referrals from social networks used to represent at best 2-3% of visits, we now see weeks where they reach 10%" Malsbenden confirms. Encouraged by the results, the team expects to roll out similar features on their other online properties including and within the next year.

About is an online retailer specializing in women's shoe brands including Clarks, Naturalizer, Skechers and BOC. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of parent company Vision Retailing Incorporated, an e-commerce consulting company based in Andover, MA. An experienced e-tailer committed to innovation, Vision Retailing owns online properties, and and has consulted a number of high end Department Stores, brick and mortar retailers and consumer goods manufacturers including GEOX, Born Footwear and Sofft Shoe Company.

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Mary Jane Mellet
Office: 978 933 4843
Cell: 203 536 6071


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