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Is Facebook Marketing Behind Macy's Online Sales Jump?

  |  May 5, 2011   |  Comments

Retailer's 50 percent increase in e-commerce revenue follows heavy rotation of social and online marketing.

macysPerhaps Macy's new online sales numbers are proof that Facebook "likes" do generate revenue.

The department store chain announced this morning that sales for its two key e-retail properties, Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com, were up 50.3 percent compared to the same month last year and 38.3 percent year-over-year for the entire first quarter. While improving consumer confidence and rising gas prices could be helping Macy's digital direct sales, the brand's Facebook and online marketing strategies likely also deserve credit.

Macy's Facebook page has picked up a whopping 800,000 "likes" in 2011 so far thanks to a handful of initiatives. It now has an audience of almost 1.8 million on the social site.

For Mother's Day, Macy's has been orchestrating a Facebook-driven goodwill marketing effort called "Thank A Mom". At the initiative's onset, it aimed to raise $400,000 for five charities, such as America Heart Association and Futures Without Violence, while sending 80,000 e-cards to mothers before this coming Sunday. Both objectives have already been accomplished.

A Mother's Day gift guide button has been prominently placed within the Facebook app page, and people clicking through are taken to a dedicated Macys.com landing page.

Consumers "Like" Makeover Contest

On Dec. 28, 2010, the retailer might have made its biggest Facebook play. It released a nationwide call for entries for so-called style makeovers as part of its ongoing partnership with fashion expert and cable TV star Clinton Kelly. Dubbed "Million Dollar Makeover," the contest ran through January, helping accrue thousands of new "likes" by the day.

Participants were required to "like" Macy's, provide URLs for their personal website, Facebook account, and YouTube page, and upload photos or a video. They were asked to detail their style; what was missing from it; how their wardrobes had been presenting challenges to their everyday lives; what their dream jobs were, and more.

Eight contestants were eventually chosen to go to New York for their makeovers. A second phase of "Million Dollar Makeover" has been launched, and two finalists will be announced May 9. For both phases, the contest has offered a $1 million grand prize.

Display Ads + Foursquare-Twitter Combo = Flowery Campaign

In April, Macy's looked to mass transit info website HopStop.com, Foursquare, and Twitter to target on-the-go consumers and tourists for its 37th annual flower show.

The retailer purchased takeover ads on HopStop.com's public transportation search pages for New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, and San Francisco. Macy's offered guided "Tower of Flowers" tours in each city.

As part of a week-long buy, the retailer also appeared in a takeover ad on HopStop.com's general homepage. The display ad creative reflected the different floral offerings for each metropolitan market. For instance, Macy's ads on the Washington, D.C., page called out the capital's annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

Macy also utilized a Foursquare-Twitter combo throughout the festivities. When geo-social users checked in at a show, they received a tip on Foursquare that encouraged them to take a picture of the floral scene and share the image via Twitter. They were instructed to use city-specific hash tags, such as #MacysFlowerNY, #MacysFlowerPHI, and #MacysFlowerMIN. Macy's monitored the hash tags, while a limited number of gift cards were distributed daily to users who tweeted an image. Meanwhile, display ads ran on sites like MSN.com and Glam.com to push the flower show events.

New York-based Macy's declined to comment for this story.

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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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