Face­book polls drive re­tail­ers’ strate­gies

Stores un­cover a valu­able use for all that on­line mut­ter­ing.

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Candice Choi

NEW YORK — Face­book isn’t just for goofy pic­tures and silly chat­ter. Whether shop­pers know it or not, their ac­tions on­line help dic­tate what’s in stores dur­ing this hol­i­day sea­son.

Af­ter polling cus­tomers on the so­cial me­dia site, Macy’s de­cided to carry denim jeans in bright neon hues rather than pas­tels. Wal-Mart for the first time de­cided to let cus­tomers vote on which toys they want dis­counted. And to bet­ter plan or­ders for the dec­o­ra­tive flags she sells, a small busi­ness owner in Mis- sis­sippi is run­ning a con­test that en­cour­ages cus­tomers to chime in about how they’re dec­o­rat­ing their homes this win­ter.

The im­pact of so­cial me­dia on a com­pany’s bot­tom line is tough to quan­tify, with no hard data on how mil­lions of Face­book fans and Twit­ter fol­low­ers trans­late into sales for stores. But dur­ing the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son, a roughly two-month pe­riod when re­tail­ers can make up to 40 per­cent of their an­nual rev­enue, stores are un­cov-

AP

Tashalee Rodriguez uses an on­line app while shop­ping at Macy’s in Bos­ton re­cently.

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