In what was billed as a 'one day experiment' timed to coincide with the launch of the new season's range, Debenhams armed sales staff at its Oxford Street store with smart phones so that they could exchange tweets with customers.
"For one day only, six members of Debenhams staff in the Oxford Street store will become Twitter Assistants — answering and responding to customer requests via the social network," said the firm. "There’ll be one Assistant on each floor of the building, answering queries from anyone using the service on their mobile whilst browsing in-store or those sitting at work itching to join the fun."
The social-media aware retailer publicised the move through its blog, its @DebenhamsRetail Twitter account and its Facebook fan page — as well as garnering useful mentions in the national press including The Sun and the Telegraph.
Afterwards the department store commented on the trial's results on its blog, and alluded to the potential for further Twitter activity in the future:
The Twitter hashtag averaged just over 10 enquiries every hour, and the feedback from our followers and the community as a whole was really positive. Not all of the responses were serious, but we were prepared for that – it’s part of the nature of Twitter.
Customers have asked if we can incorporate Twitter into more stores and keep it as part of the online customer experience, so people are definitely open to more Twitter related activity.
Importantly, we also now have a benchmark and some really valuable feedback for planning our next phase. Watch this space…