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Get Social with Duane Reade


Best Use of Social Media for Retail or E-Commerce

Produced by

Collective Bias


Retail & E-Commerce

About this entry

Duane Reade (DR) and its Social Agency created the “Get Social” program, a comprehensive social media marketing campaign to increase brand awareness for the retailer and its suppliers. Duane Reade, part of the Walgreens family of companies, is a regional drug store chain in metro New York. The overall objective of the “Get Social” campaign was to drive awareness, engagement and increase sales at all retail stores using digital marketing strategies and it’s unique “Parallel Persuasion” equation: Brand Advocacy + Brand Voice + PR Integration + Conversation Relevance= ROI. Prior to DR’s “Get Social” program, the retailer had minimal presence on Facebook and Twitter, while CVS and Rite Aid (both national retailers) dominated the online space by over 95%. Stealing any share from these national retailers would be challenging, but DR was determined to dominate the space and “own” the conversation moving forward. The team tapped into DR’s existing social audience who already loved the brand and empowered them to create consumer-generated media that tied everything together from their PR efforts to its in-store tactics. Content was retail-connected and drove conversations and sales by inspiring and motivating their loyal fan base. Phase one of the program focused on identifying key influencers and growing the community. The Agency utilized the Facebook page for DR to find 20 VIP bloggers who were chosen based on a combination of brand advocacy and total network reach. Phase two focused on engaging the community on a regular basis. The DR VIP’s were activated weekly to promote in-store deals, events, store openings, etc., based on PR needs, promotional and merchandising calendars. Bloggers helped promote the events by weaving their “path-to-purchase” and products/events into real-life stories on their blogs and then shared through their social networks. As the program took shape, Duane Reade offered its suppliers access to its social influencers through “Supplier Social Activation” programs. Suppliers, who participated in these programs, received a set number of dedicated DR VIP’s who created content on their specific brand/product. One example of a Supplier Social Activation program included the “Show Us Some Leg” photo contest promoting DR hosiery. The brand also integrated a hashtag (#DRLegwear) across all platforms including in-store displays, radio and multiple online platforms like YouTube. With the hashtag, DR was able to spark interactions, drive uploads of consumer-generated media and own the conversation around legwear nationally. The “Get Social” campaign deserves to win the Best Use of Social Media for Retail because DR is now the fastest growing drugstore in the industry and number one in sales per square foot. Even as a regional New York City brand, DR is now the most widely followed drugstore in the world, dominating the social media landscape and stealing the voice from their national competitors. DR proved that if done right, engaging an online community through innovative social media tactics is an effective marketing approach that can drive engagement and sales. The ongoing program continues to engage its brand advocates and New York Metropolitan area shoppers through social media that raises awareness, strengthens brand loyalty and increases sales. Some notable results include: Achieved 4 billion+ impressions across the social web. This is huge especially for a regional drugstore chain. To achieve the same number of impressions in USA Today, an ad spend of 2,249 full-page ads priced at over $467 Million would be necessary. Facebook likes increased by almost 14,000 fans and Twitter increased by over 660,000 followers and hit 1 million+ Twitter followers, making DR the most widely followed drugstore in the world and the fastest growing retail account this past year. To commemorate passing the 1 million Twitter milestone, DR held a “party” on the social network, giving away prizes and incorporating hashtags to brand the celebration. The DR Legwear Supplier activation was the sole marketing activity active during the month of October, 2013. As this is a private label brand, it is assumed that total store marketing activities would show little halo onto the brand. Additionally, by accounting for YOY sales trends immediately throughout the campaign period, we believe we’ve adjusted for natural lift as well as seasonality to drive at true campaign ROI. Adjusting for these factors, the “Show Us Some Leg” campaign generated approximately 8% lift in dollar sales to the brand, generating a ~5x ROI. DR’s Get Social program is an ongoing initiative that will continue to drive community growth, engagement and influence among New York Metropolitan area customers; increasing loyalty and sales for the regional drugstore chain.

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