National Retail Federation focuses on local, social media outreach

WASHINGTON: The National Retail Federation (NRF), which created the term Cyber Monday in 2005, is working to extend the life of the popular online shopping day through social media and more localized media outreach.

WASHINGTON: The National Retail Federation (NRF), which created the term Cyber Monday in 2005, is working to extend the life of the popular online shopping day through social media and more localized media outreach. The organization, which runs Web site CyberMonday.com and the Shop.org division for online retailers, focuses on its research for media outreach, and is using gift card giveaways via social media.

"We're always looking for new ways to leverage the research," said Ellen Davis, a VP at NRF. This year's research, which predicted that 96.5 million Americans will shop on November 30, or Cyber Monday, added questions about where people plan to shop, at home or at work, with 91.5% saying they plan to shop at home.

For its media outreach, the NRF continued to build relationships with national reporters, but focused on local outreach by having Shop.org executive director Scott Silverman do an SMT on November 30 for local media only. The organization also created b-roll for local TV stations and hosted a media briefing on Sunday, November 29, discussing results from Black Friday and Cyber Monday predictions.

"There are so many groups who focus on reporters during the holiday season and I think we're able to break through the clutter because we're really trying to provide retail and business reporters with information all year long," Davis said. As for its online outreach, "we do think that an emphasis on social media will help bring customers back to the site throughout the holiday season."

NRF is on Twitter and Facebook, giving away gift cards throughout the holiday season, and it is also reaching out to bloggers, particularly mommy bloggers, with events. On November 24, NRF hosted a Twitter party, where it gave out additional gift cards for specific retailers, and hosted a blogger roundtable on November 16, discussing how to be smart and safe while shopping this holiday season. For its blogger outreach, NRF partnered with AVG, an anti-virus software company, and worked with that company's PR firm, Adfero Group. Otherwise, all PR and media relations are handled internally.

All day on November 30, NRF was able to provide updated information to reporters about how many people have visited its site and trends for the day.

"We're constantly challenged with providing reporters with accurate information in the most timely way possible," Davis said. "Our goal is to make sure that when reporters think about retail or e-commerce, they think about us."

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