Data: digital retail's top three priorities for 2014

 Digital Retail Priorities 2014

Following a mixed Christmas - overall gloom leavened by the occasional boom - 2014 is shaping up to be a year of radical change for the digital retail industry. More so than ever, those who can't adapt won't survive the lean Q1 months ahead, so what changes lie in-store now that the tinsel's down and the profit warnings are looming?

We surveyed over 200 Heads of eCommerce and Heads of Social from across Europe and the United States to gauge their top strategic priorities for 2014. What changes will they be making? How will they be spending their budgets? What are their goals for the year ahead? Below are their top three responses: smarter promotions, innovative customer acquisition and generating real ROI from social. But, first, here are a few surprises from the survey.

  • Is this the end for old social? In previous years, we’d have expected to see lots of digital retailers and marketers focusing on growing their social audiences by adding 'Likes' and followers. But our survey indicated that only 4% of respondents regarded this as critical goal for the coming year, with the emphasis shifting towards monetisation of that audience instead (see below).

  • Money talks. Two


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Argos teams up with Buyapowa to launch Co-buying on social media

argos-logo-news

PRESS RELEASE

• Argos customers rewarded for sharing deals via social media

• Available at www.buyapowa.com/argos

Argos, the UK’s largest high street retailer online, and Buyapowa, the leading social-commerce technology company, have launched a trial partnership to enable Argos’ Facebook fans and Twitter followers to shop together and earn unbeatable deals.

Buyapowa’s technology will enable Argos customers to request special offers on their favourite products, then improve those offers by sharing them via social media and shopping together. The more people who buy, the better the prices will be for everyone who participates. These offers, or ‘Co-buys,’ will be presented via a customised platform and will be promoted across Argos’ social media and other communications channels, including its website which saw more than 635 million visits in the last 12 months.

The service is now live at www.buyapowa.com/argos and will feature products from Argos’ general merchandise range of more than 29,000 items. Customers will be encouraged and rewarded for sharing information with other potential customers to help increase customer acquisition but, more importantly, generate long-term loyalty by listening to and rewarding shoppers.

Neil Tinegate, Head of Digital Innovation at Argos, said: “We’ve


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Who are your Facebook neighbours?

Who are your social neighbours?

Community. Peers. Group. Network. Friends and followers and contacts. There's almost as many terms for 'them people wot you know' in social media as there are social networks. But you know and I know that lots of the people you 'know' are, in fact, complete and utter strangers. Maybe you met them at a conference for three-and-a-half seconds. Maybe you liked their avatar. Maybe they're a friend of a friend of someone you met at a conference who had a nice avatar.

Which got me thinking: do I actually have as much in common with the next person along in Facebook's random ID numbering as I do with some of the people I'm supposedly 'friends' with? Well, let's take a look...

First, I need to find my Facebook ID number. That's easily done by visiting http://findmyfacebookid.com and popping in the URL of my Facebook profile.

Next I need to add and subtract 'one' from that number and visit the neighbouring profiles by appending them to "www.facebook.com/". And here they are (pixellated somewhat to protect the innocent... and me):

facebook neighbours

I was hoping for Barack Obama and Lady Gaga, but no - to the left, there's the lovely


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Competitions don't work. This week: Xbox

This Xbox Competition Won't Work

via Xbox UK

Last week, we told you how competitions had absolutely stopped working, and how they're often massively counter-productive.

This week, we thought we'd illustrate the point by looking at a current comp from Xbox UK. Now, we're absolutely not here to criticise Microsoft or the UK Xbox social media team, who do a wonderful job for a fantastic product (we're massive fans). We're just wondering how well this is going to work for them.

There's a few obvious glitches. The entry mechanism requires that you follow @XboxUK on Twitter, then retweet the following tweet from @XboxUK: “I want to win a sack of Xbox swag. #AnXboxChristmas”

Unfortunately, this doesn't all fit into a standard tweet, nor is there any room to tell people what the prizes are, so they're running with this:

Xbox tweet

Inevitably, people on Twitter are assuming they simply need to retweet, but the Ts & Cs (which no one ever looks at) say they also need to follow. That's going to alienate a lot of punters. And, speaking of those Ts & Cs, they're actually hosted on Facebook - along with a list of the prizes. Cue angry Facebook fans wondering...

Comment on Facebook

Erk. You see, you just can't please people with competitions. They'll share like crazy, they'll enter like mad. But they'll get grumpy if they don't


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No competition: why contests just aren't working anymore

Competitions don't work

We've all been there. You've got a budget of £X to bring in #Y new Facebook 'likes'... then some bright spark asks aloud: "What's the point of all these new 'likes'? These people are only 'liking' us to win a prize. Most of them are obsessive compers, sharing with other compers - none of whom would ever dream of spending real money with us."

That bright spark is a total git who's ruined everything... but he does have a point.

Back in the day, magazines ran competitions to add value for their readers - a brand would stump up a prize, get some promo, the readers would read about a product, get excited, maybe win a little something - everyone's a winner. In time, TV and radio picked up the baton and ran comps as programme-fillers and break-bumpers, generic 'content' to fill up shows. Then someone realised that premium-rate phonelines could earn production companies money on every entry and... well, the s* hit the fan.

With the explosion of social media, then, it seemed natural to extend competitions to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. And, for a time, that was fine. It helped brands engage with audiences and gave punters reasons to navigate through the social maze to their Pages. But now? Well, besides cute cat pics, competitions account for most of what you see on a lot of commercial social media pages. And the total value of these relentless giveaways? Devalued brands, devalued products, 'fanbases' who couldn't care less about the companies they're following and absolutely no real-terms value in return.

As for engaging genuine customers - well, at best, a competition postpones a purchase decision ("I would


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