Chatter does matter. Lisa Joy Rosner, chief marketing officer at social intelligence company NetBase, asserts that what women are saying on social media can make a huge difference in a retailer’s bottom line.
This story first appeared in the June 19, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Rosner presented highlights from a survey of 1,005 women ages 18 to 65 who have at least one social network profile. The study, which will be published throughout the summer, unearthed two types of women who should matter most to retailers: The Fashionista and The Social Shopper.
Fashionistas are the 29 percent of women who said they strongly agreed with the statement “Fashion and beauty are extremely important to me.” Social Shoppers comprise the 15 percent of respondents who strongly agreed with the question “When you are looking for what’s in vogue, how much do you look at what your friends are wearing and how much does that influence what you purchase?”
Focusing on these two personas and the social platforms they use, Rosner’s data showed that nearly 100 percent of both groups are on Facebook and 66 percent of Fashionistas and 75 percent of Social Shoppers are on Twitter, while just more than half of both personas use Pinterest and Google Plus.
On Facebook, the top three categories these women mention are costume jewelry, cosmetics and casual clothing. “This is pretty much confirmation for everyone of the importance of Facebook,” said Rosner. “It means we need to have an incredibly interactive and engaging page and we have to listen to and understand what’s being said on that page.”
At least one-third of these women are also influenced by blogs, forums and message boards. “One of the things you need to find out is who are your most influential bloggers, journalists and message boards and have digital programs across all of those properties,” she said.
Rosner shared findings from NetBase’s proprietary report called the Brand Passion Index, which measures buzz, sentiment and passion intensity.
In the category of department stores, Target had the most amount of buzz, or the biggest bubble, visually speaking. Interestingly, Rent the Runway scored higher on both sentiment and passion intensity, but had a much smaller buzz bubble. In casual clothing, Abercrombie & Fitch scored low, with comments ranging from overpriced to that it promotes bad body image. Another notable insight was the large amount of buzz for price-conscious retailers Forever 21 and Old Navy, but with mixed sentiment and passion. Conversely, contemporary brands Lucky Brand, James Perse and Seven For All Mankind had much higher sentiment and passion ratings but much smaller buzz. Rosner noted one benefit of such visual comparison was that it allowed brands to see where they sit against competitors in terms of the three specific metrics.
Stella & Dot, Silpada, HSN, QVC and JewelMint were all high scorers in the costume jewelry category, and Kate Spade was a leader in special occasion dressing, as were Trina Turk, Nicole Miller, BCBG and Vera Wang.
Rosner also showed results for activewear, footwear, career clothes and fine jewelry, where Athleta, Stuart Weitzman, J. Crew and Tiffany & Co. earned high marks.