Consumer behavior is becoming increasingly digital. Today’s shoppers rely on social media for buying decisions. They read brand information and online product reviews before making a purchase. They even continue to use mobile devices while they’re in the store.
Smart retailers are capitalizing on these rapidly evolving trends. . . and here’s one of the things I always want to know:
Which brands are leading the pack? Who’s best at leveraging digital marketing to drive revenue growth?
This interesting (and quite comprehensive) study rated a retailer’s online smarts (or “Digital IQ”) by analyzing 350 data points across four different dimensions: Site, Digital Marketing, Social Media and Mobile.
While 37 percent of the brands in the index received the distinction “Gifted,” only Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret and Nordstrom earned the top score, “Genius.” These retailers balance digital investments across platforms including strong mobile offerings, integrated social media and robust e-commerce marketing tactics.
Apparently, investments in digital pay dividends, as the top three brands demonstrate greater average time on site by users and increased repeat visitors, according to the report.
Macy’s was singled out for its “Magic of Macy’s” mobile site, Victoria’s Secret for its 14 million member Facebook community and Nordstrom for its “uber responsive” Twitter account, robust mobile site and site redesign.
“This research proves that retailers who are leading the way when it comes to integrating and maximizing digital platforms are also seeing increases in shareholder value,” said Michael Lazerow, CEO and Founder, Buddy Media. “Retailers have more opportunities than ever to identify who their most profitable customers are. We are in the midst of a massive shift online from a search and intent-based world to a social, people-based world, and retailers that put people first will win.”
Other high-ranking retailers were (in order), Sephora and Urban Outfitters (tied), Threadless.com, Bluefly, Bloomingdales and Gilt Groupe (tied), NET-A-PORTER and Pottery Barn (tied).
Among the other findings that caught my eye:
- Digital IQ is linked with shareholder value.
- Digital IQ is positively correlated with brands’ return on invested capital.
- As a category, Department Stores – last year’s social media overachievers – did exceedingly well across the board, securing two Genius and four Gifted rankings.
- Facebook presence has become the price of entry as every brand has developed their own fan page; however there still remains a significant opportunity to make money from Facebook communities as only four brands developed fully-functional Facebook storefronts.
- Facebook fans are most receptive to product-related messaging (vs. giveaways and promotions).
- For most specialty retail brands, mobile has become synonymous with the iOS (iPhone/iPad) platform. Despite the Android platform’s enormous and steadily growing market share, only 5 percent of brands in the Index have Android apps; likewise, only one brand’s mobile site is optimized for Blackberry.
- Sixty-seven percent of brands have mobile sites, almost triple the number from 2010. 88 percent of these are e-commerce enabled.
- Retailers that grew complacent were surpassed in the ranking by brands that embraced mobile and emerging platforms.