Social Media, Mobile Payoff Continues for Wet Seal

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Social Media, Mobile Payoff Continues for Wet Seal

By Susan S. Nichols - 04/07/2011
The Wet Seal Inc.’s social media and mobile strategy has remained on track and is racking up positive stats that translate to the bottom line.

A year ago, Apparel published an extensive story on Wet Seal’s social media and mobile strategy — including the launch of its online Fashion Community which allows customers to build, tag, share, rate and purchase outfits through a personalized virtual boutique; its in-store kiosks, which allow customers to scan an item’s price tag and then view the full-range of item-specific outfits that have been created online; its mobile shopping site; and its interfaces with social networking sites such as Facebook. (See “Wet Seal Nails Its Social/Mobile Strategy,” Apparel, April 2010.)
 
By all accounts, these activities are continuing to resonate with Wet Seal’s customers. Speaking at the Executive Summit of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, Jon Kubo, CIO of Wet Seal, shared these recent statistics, which roughly reflect a one-year time period:
• The number of outfits posted on Wet Seal’s web site has grown from nearly 400,000 to 1 million.  
• Wet Seal’s Facebook fans have increased from 180,000 to 1.3 million.
• The conversion lift (from browsing to buying) remains at approximately 40 percent for those who have viewed a user-generated outfit, and the average order lift remains at approximately 20 percent. Kubo says some 5 percent of users actively create outfits, while the other 95 percent listen and respond.

Kubo added that Facebook is now the largest source of upstream traffic to wetseal.com at 15 percent. He said the average for similar companies is in the eight percent range. And as a comparison, he said blogs drive only 2 percent in upstream traffic.

As for current efforts, Kubo says the focus for 2011 is maximizing its current applications and focusing on how to get “social into the store. It’s not just about being a cross-channel, but being an omni channel,” he said.

Wet Seal is carrying out six social network campaigns per year, to include its model search, and will be launching a Facebook game in July 2011. The game will allows users to run a virtual Wet Seal store.

Kubo said the gaming aspect could be the most important aspect of its program yet, adding, “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever worked on as a CIO. What do you want the customer to do, and how do you set up an environment that is good for both of you?’”    

— Susan S. Nichols

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