Circuit City bets on social media

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The CityCenter microsite, including profiles and forums, is the hub of Circuit City’s social efforts
The CityCenter microsite, including profiles and forums, is the hub of Circuit City’s social efforts

CircuitCity has expanded its social media platform as well as its relationships with third-party sources, such as Consumer Reports magazine, in an effort to better assist customers when they're making buying decisions.

“Social media is really a new way for companies like ours to listen to what our customers are saying, and to what their wants, needs and desires are — from either a product assortment perspective, or just for what they need to be able to make good purchasing decisions,” said Todd Feldman, senior manager of emerging marketing channels for Circuit City.

Consumer electronics as a category is very complex, noted Adam Weinroth, director of products at Pluck, a social media company that has been working with the retailer on its site. “It takes the right level of social interaction at the right place, at the right time to streamline that complex buying process,” he said.

Circuit City has recently expanded its CityCenter microsite at CircuitCity.com/citycenter, which includes forums, a com­pany blog and photo galleries where users can upload personal images.

Consumers can also build community profiles — which Circuit City recently integrated directly into site registration — that enable others to follow their activity on the site. The retailer has also been working with Pluck to syndicate its blog content through its media partners. So far, Circuit City says, it has seen 5,000 site-wide user contributions per month over the last 90 days. In addition, Circuit City has been running a series of photo contests on its site to encourage partici­pation. Users have uploaded more than 2,500 photos to the site.

CircuitCity.com features user reviews and ratings on its site as well as third-party editorial content. The retailer recently expanded its content offerings from Popular Photography and Consumer Reports, and has a new relationship with Sound & Vision to offer content from that magazine on its site, Feldman said.

CircuitCity.com is the first retailer with which Consumer Reports has established a content distribution deal, said Carol Lappin, director of business development at Consumer Reports. The magazine shares content from its buying advice guides — for example, guides covering plasma or LCD televisions — for free with the retailer, but not its product reviews.

“We felt as an organization it was an excellent idea, because it allowed people to get unbiased, trusted advice from Consumer Reports, right where they were making their purchase decision,” Lappin said.

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