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Chris Murphy
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Wet Seal Shows The Way

Are you slowly, cautiously sorting out how to engage with your customers in social networks?

Are you slowly, cautiously sorting out how to engage with your customers in social networks? Well, if your customers are teenage girls, and 72% of them are on Facebook and 36% of them have a smartphone, you don't have the luxury of taking your sweet time.

That's why teen-girls' clothing retailer Wet Seal is among those blazing a trail in marketing with Facebook. One lesson it's learned is that girls want to do different things on each medium. They use Wet Seal's site to create outfits--500,000 of them--but they prefer to share outfits with friends using Facebook. Girls don't use their iPhones much to post content, but they viewed 750,000 outfits a week on the retailer's iPhone app in the back-to-school season. Here are some hard results Wet Seal has seen with its integrated Web, social networking, and iPhone strategy:

Girls using the outfit tool are 40% more likely to buy, and they spend 20% more.

Girls using a "Shop With Friend" feature, accessed through Facebook or the site, have a 2.5 times higher conversion rate.

Facebook is now the largest marketing base for store traffic, thanks to coupons and campaigns, and one of the biggest drivers of traffic to Wet Seal's Web site.

Facebook also is a gold mine for the customer-support team. "It's one of the primary tools they use to know if there are problems out there," says Wet Seal development director Shawn Keim. Wet Seal doesn't erase complaints but tries to resolve problems with comments on Facebook, so people see issues getting taken care of.

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