A pioneer in the social space, Golfsmith recognized very early on that their customers’ passion for all things golf was a contagious force. Since going live as our first client in 2005, the company has woven customer feedback into every aspect of their organization. This year Internet Retailer recognized Golfsmith on their Hot 100 E-Retailers list, calling the brand a “leader in shopper interaction” and noting their expert use of these interactions – Facebook, Twitter, customer reviews, customer Q&A – to drive sales.
What makes Golfsmith’s social efforts so successful? One word: measurement. Golfsmith measures the ROI of all of their social efforts on two scales: “hard impact” and “soft impact.”
Golfsmith calls the non-monetary benefits of their social efforts “soft impact.” Number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers are soft impact metrics for the brand.
Positive brand association – Fans of the brand interact with each other through social media, sharing their tips, tales of great shots, etc. Golfsmith tracks impressions and interactions for every social media post. Social media offers Golfsmith a way to interact with customers one-on-one, engaging their passion for golf and building positive associations with the Golfsmith brand.
Share of mind – the appearance of the Golfsmith logo on fans’ Facebook and Twitter feeds helps keep the brand top of mind for customers. The brand’s newly launched iPhone app gives Golfsmith another touch point with customers – mobile. The app includes customer reviews for in-store and mobile use, exclusive product video content shot by Golfsmith, a store locator, and even a mobile shopping portal.
Hard impact metrics tie directly to Golfsmith’s bottom line. The key to driving hard impact through social efforts is to begin every social initiative with a business goal. “Reaching 1,000 Facebook Likes” should not be your end-goal. Determine the hard impact you’re after (increased sales, decreased costs, improved customer service, etc), and design your social efforts around that goal.
Increased sales – Golfsmith found that shoppers who select the “Top Rated” category on Golfsmith.com convert 49% higher than the average shopper. Additionally, shoppers who “sort by rating” have a 36% higher average order value than the site average, and shoppers who interact with customer Q&A have a 17% higher AOV.
Improved marketing – Golfsmith also leverages ratings and review content in their catalogue, email, search marketing, and in-store promotions. They saw a 42% increase in revenue per email for “Top Rated” product emails with ratings and review content.
Additionally, Golfsmith leveraged their Facebook community to launch and grow their new “Deal of the Day” initiative. So far, feedback and growth has been overwhelmingly positive. Golfsmith is currently contemplating how to let the community decide on future deals and offer direction.
Decreased customer service costs – improving customer service was a key goal of Golfsmith’s social efforts from the start. The brand responds to customer feedback on Facebook and Twitter to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Additionally, Golfsmith utilizes customer Q&A to answer customer questions directly on product pages. Other customers, Golfsmith reps, and even manufacturer reps answer shopper questions within the purchase path, giving shoppers the information they need to buy confidently. Golfsmith has seen a 67% reduction in customer service calls for products with three or more answered customer questions on Golfsmith.com.
The big takeaway for Golfsmith – measure, measure, measure. If your social efforts are working, figure out how to make them work harder. If they aren’t, fail fast and move on. It’s more than ok – even encouraged – to experiment in the social sphere. Make sure that you’re testing your social efforts for both hard and soft impact to prove real social ROI.
Communities should garner real results – and not just increased site traffic or number of fans. John Lazarchic, VP of E-commerce for PETCO shares key differences between communities that impact business-driving metrics and those that don’t in this free webinar.