I’ve put together this list of the Top 50 UK retailers from 2009, according to the report derived from the UK’s Top 500 Retailers online company profile service by the Retail Knowledge Bank.

I’ve had fun looking at this data, it’s really opened my eyes to few things I didn’t know about the Top 50 UK retailers and especially their usage of Twitter.

The Stats and my insights

Out of the Top 50 UK Retailers I looked at, here are the following stats I found out:

  • 80%, 40 out 50 retailers had official Twitter accounts for their businesses
  • Only 35% of retailers promoted their Twitter presence as a link or call to action on their website homepage.
  • Only 20% of retailers had Twitter followings over 3,000.

Twitter client usage for the Top 50 UK Retailers

Out of the retailers that used Twitter, I counted their activity on how they posted to Twitter and what clients they used. The results were quite surprising to me.  I have calculated these figures by looking at their 20 recent Tweets and counting the usage of different applications. Web, stands for the accounts using Twitter’s own interface.

  • 41% of retailers choose not use a Twitter client, professional or otherwise, to update and manage their Twitter account. Instead, preferring Twitter’s own interface to update profiles.
  • 16% of Others contained the following applications, Tweet connect, Twitter for iphone, Twitter for Blackberry, Twitter tools, Seismic, Twuffer and Social oommph.
  • 2% updated their Twitter profiles using a mobile device.

I cannot believe that most of these retailers chose not to use a Twitter client and especially when there are such brilliant ones freely available. I’m going to shamelessly plug Hootsuite here, as it is both professional and free.

I could make a good assumption that many of the 41% who use Twitter’s own interface don’t track and measure their activity as best they could.

They should be using professional Twitter clients as they have the tools for measuring your engagement and how popular a link  that you shared was. It also makes managing Twitter much easier.

I would say, there is still a long way to go before the people who are responsible for managing and maintaining these profiles understand how to use the technology correctly.

The Top 50 Retailers on Twitter

  1. Tesco – @Tescostores – Only two tweets, abandoned since April 2009. Interesting to note. They also have @Tesco_Diets, @tescomobile – also Abandoned since June 2009, @tescoentertain, @clothingattesco, @TescoFootball, @tescofood , @tescoonline ,@TescoWines – Abandoned since December 2009. It is surprising that Tesco has tried a number of Twitter accounts and not followed through with them.
  2. Sainsbury – @sainsburys – The official company Twitter profile of the supermarket chain, focusing on consumer engagement. They also have @jsainsbury – Another official profile for Sainsbury, this account focusing on corporate issues.
  3. Asda – @asda – The official Twitter profile for the supermarket chain. Fairly active, good engagement and conversations are going on with fellow followers. High number of @mentions suggests that Asda is getting their Twitter account right.
  4. Morrisons – No current Twitter profile for one of the most popular UK supermarkets. If Tesco, Asda & Sainsburys can see the reasoning behind social media, surely Morrisons should be on there as well.
  5. Marks & Spencers – @marksandspencer – the official company Twitter profile. Good to see M&S promoting products directly through Twitter, they are also engaging in conversations with their following. M&S has a strong following count at 9,968 followers.
  6. Alliance Boots – Unofficial I think but there is @AllianceBoots, this account has protected it Tweets. I’m sure this is just someone swatting on the name. It doesn’t look like an official company account.
  7. John Lewis Partnership – For a brand so successful in the UK both offline and online, it is quite unbelievable why John Lewis isn’t on Twitter yet. I know their online store is doing extremely well, being on Twitter wouldn’t harm their brand at all.
  8. Home Retail Group (Argos/ Homebase) – @Argos_Online, no account for Homebase. Argos has successful increased it’s online sales of late with it’s buy online and collect in store service. It’s good to see Argos following through on Twitter. Plenty of Tweets on their products and offers, not much engagement with followers as far as I can see.
  9. Co-operative Group – @TheCooperative is the Co-operative corporate Twitter account.
  10. DSG International (Currys, Dixons & PC World) – @dixonsonline – the official Dixons account for ordering goods and products online, No account for PC world, following the huge success of Dell’s Outlet Twitter account, this is a missed opportunity not having PC world direct selling PCs and computer hardware on Twitter.
  11. Kingfisher (B&Q & Screfix) @bandq, a very nice branded Twitter account. Like Asda, one of the better designed examples. There is decent engagement happening on their Twitter account, only a small number of followers though. @Screwfixdotcom, again great to see them promoting products through tweets. Kingfisher have got these accounts running well and a good use of social media.
  12. Sommerfield – No Twitter account for Somerfield as of yet.
  13. Next – @nextofficial, of course Next are on Twitter. As one of the UK largest retailers for clothing both online and offline it’s no surprise Next are here. Interestingly, they use a Twitter application called Socialoomph to post to their Twitter account. Lots of Tweets about their content and promoting links to direct product pages. Their Twitter profile account links to their Facebook fan page, that’s interesting! I’d of thought they’d point them directly to the Next online website. Also using Twitter as a customer service channel, I have seen some responses to customer tweets giving customer support phone numbers.
  14. Spar (Uk) – No UK Twitter account at this time.
  15. Iceland Foods – @IcelandFoods. Inactive account at present.
  16. Aldi Stores – @Aldi_StoresUK, un-used account could be un-official,they do have an account for Australia and Germany. See @ALDIAustralia and @aldi_de
  17. Arcadia Group (Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Topshop and others) – @Topshop_tweets, @Burton_Menswear, @_MissSelfridge_ (strange Twitter username choice using an underscore twice. They would of been better with MissSelfridgeUK or MissSelfridgeTweets.
  18. Debenhams – @DebenhamsRetail seems to be a lot of activity going on their Twitter account and one of more interesting ones I have read.  They also have guest tweeters, which is a very interesting concept and one of only brands here to undertake that good idea!
  19. Lidl – Accounts for both Ireland and Northen Ireland @lidl_ireland, @lidl_nireland. I couldn’t find the UK one, strange how they have Ireland but not the UK. Both these account only have a small amount of follwers.
  20. Woolworths – @team_woolies this is the official UK Twitter account. You would expect Woolworths to be on Twitter, especially after their core business moved solely online.
  21. HMV Media Group – @hmv_getcloser is the UK Twitter account. I like the Twitter background on this account, nice use of the logo. HMV seems to embracing Twitter, actively engaging with it’s audience.
  22. Comet – @cometdeals and @cometauctions. Comet deals offering latest deals and competitions at Comet, good level of engagement here.
  23. The Carphone Warehouse Group – @carphoneware. The biography says it is run by members of the brand and Multi-channel team. There is also a decidated customer service account @cpwcares.
  24. Shop Direct Group (Littlewoods) – @LittlewoodsDeal, I know that Littlewoods has re-invented themselves online. The Head of Marketing Hilary Littlewoods is also on Twitter @Littlewoods_Hil.
  25. Costcutter – @mycostcutter, I’m surprised to see Costcutter on Twitter. A very low amount of followers and looks like their following is made up of quite a few fake and spam accounts. Needs work this one.
  26. Lloyds Pharmacy [email protected] is the official account.
  27. Primark – @Primarkjobs and @PrimarkReading both for Jobs at Primark. I couldn’t find one promoting products and this looks like another missed opportunity.
  28. Londis – No official Twitter account I could find.
  29. Wilkinson – No official current Twitter account
  30. Game Group – @Gamedigital run by their online team at their Head office. A Facebook fan page link is also made clear in the profile biography. Massive potential on Twitter for the Games Industry and they are really getting it right, both Playstation and Microsoft have been using Twitter very successfully. Game have a large amount of followers and their Twitter content looks great. Lots of @replies to customers and fellow Twitter users.
  31. WHSmith – @WHSmithcouk and @W_H_Smith (not sure if this one is official). Awful Twitter profile design, ghastly colour schemes and poor background designs.
  32. Ikea – @ikealiving is the official Twitter account. Ikea have been using social media quite effectively recently. I read about this excellent viral piece of advertising on Facebook they did.
  33. Superdrug Stores – @superdrugloves, can I point out the great Twitter background and design. It’s that extra bit of effort that makes an account look more professional and trustworthy. It really is important.
  34. TK Maxx – @tkmaxx_uk, of course as a clothing retailer it’s a must to be on Twitter especially when all the competition are.
  35. Matalan – @Matalan looks like the Matalan account started but then gave up all too easily. Their last tweet was on the 3rd of August 2009.
  36. Sports Direct International [email protected] great idea offering unique Twitter discount codes, unfortunately though Sports Direct haven’t grown their account to marketable numbers yet.
  37. Wickes – @WICKESDIY, I don’t understand why it is all capitals for their Twitter username. Good to see Wickes on Twitter, it seems they have a decent following.
  38. New Look – The official Uk Twitter account @NewLookFashion and for careers @NewLook_Careers. Both accounts have a strong following and are mentioned in a number of Twitter lists. This is a sign of authority.
  39. BHS Group – I couldn’t find a Twitter account, they sell online from their website. No sign of any promotion of social media profiles on their website either.
  40. Halfords Group – @Halfords_uk there is great execution here, nice Twitter page design. Note they also promote their Youtube and Facebook fan pages in the background design.
  41. Amazon.co.uk – @amazon and @amazonmp3, you’d expect one of the world’s largest online retailers to be on Twitter. Amazon have been using Twitter successfully for a while now.
  42. Netto – @netto_news the official account, using Mascot Scottie the dog as the main Tweeter. Offering customers news about what’s in store.
  43. Bargain Booze [email protected] (doesn’t look too official). If it is, what were you thinking with that background design? Oh dear!
  44. Specsavers – @SpecsaversUK Twitter account promoting their competition “Have you got specs appeal?” the competition for the Spectacle wearer of the year 2010. Twitter account links to a microsite for the competition. Did this really need it’s own Twitter account? Good idea, however it needs a bit more promotion there are only 70 followers on the Twitter account.
  45. Martin (Forbuoys) McColl – No current Twitter account that I could find.
  46. Thresher Group (Wine rack, Threshers) – Couldn’t find any Twitter accounts.
  47. House of Fraisers – @hotathof, promoting Facebook updates, products and offers. Linking directly to products which is good to see.
  48. N Brown Group (JD Williams) – No Twitter account.
  49. Peacock group – Bonmarche, Peacocks @peacocks_tweets. Suprisingly no Twitter account for their Bonmarche clothing. Especially, when they retail online and have an e-commerce store. Bonmarche really should be cross promoting products on Twitter.
  50. River Island Clothing – @RIVER_ISLAND, River Island have been using social media effectively in their e-mails and have built a good Twitter following.

 

If you’ve seen any brands using Twitter effectively, then we would love to hear about them in the comments below. Thanks.

Published by Illiya Vjestica

Illiya Vjestica is MD at Smartdog Digital, who specialise in Web Analytics, Social Media & Search Marketing. Illiya is passionate about helping his clients to understand the value of digital marketing, helping them to measure and improve the performance of their website traffic and digital marketing campaigns.