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Click ‘n’ Mix July 3, 2009

Posted by BCME UK in Social media.

By Matt H

Though tragically overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson, Woolworths is back with us this week. After speaking to nearly a million former customers and boasting over half a million products on sale, the new site has launched in a blaze of social media glory. The loss of 27,000 jobs last November has been forgotten with the creation and digital promotion of a shiny new, flashy Flash site.

Operating as Woolworths.co.uk, the site offers the familiar stock of children’s Ladybird clothing, games and toys and  two partner stores offer entertainment gear and party products like pick and mix sweeties. According to the The Times, rights to the Woolworths name cost Shop Direct Home Shopping Limited between £5m and £10m though no confirmation from Shop Direct… And yes, that is the same Shop Direct which operates Littlewoods.

But, admirably, to harness the British public’s blind affection for the Woolies brand, Woolworths.co.uk is using a crafty mix of social media tactics. Before the stores launch, a Facebook fan page had over 6,000 members. The Woolworths lounge features user-submitted nostalgic music playlists integrated with Spotify and Last.Fm. There’s a regular blog from team members and even regular tweets – in reply to questions such as “how about a free delivery code?” The cheeky twitter user was indeed rewarded with a code.

In particular, the “Pic n Mix” animation on the site is magic, but if it costs you £3.50 to have a 200g bag of cola bottles delivered – the question that remains to be answered is will British consumers pay this price because of their affinity to good old Woolies. What was it that made Woolworths Woolworths? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t originally its presence online, but re-launching with the absence of physical stores in major cities – Woolworths.co.uk will be hoping they can recreate this relationship with the public by engaging with consumer online.

Just a thought though, wouldn’t it have been nice to have seen the letters of the store signs from the now derelict Woolworths stores re-used in billboard adverts for the new online store (y’know just with .co.uk added on the end).  Very green and surely bang on the messaging, but I’ll keep me nose out and stick to eating me cola bottles for now.



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