Small department stores get personal to drive engagement

With another sad blow to the High Street through the loss of Beales; and tough trading times for John Lewis, we’re putting two of the UK’s smaller and regional chains under the Maybe* microscope to understand how they are being successful.

Fenwick Stores and W D Coe may have a smaller store footprint than their larger rivals, but both take a slightly more local and personal approach to social media. Find out what’s working for them.

All data collected from January 1 2020. Data correct as of the time of collection and may not reflect the impact of any paid media support, or data accrued since.


Fenwick posts across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, posting on average of 10 times per day. When looking at its feeds, the same content and messaging is posted to all its social channels.

Twitter earns them on average less than one engagement per post, Facebook an average of 15, while Instagram earns the chain 112. Though Instagram is clearly driving good organic engagement for the brand, Fenwick could see better results on Facebook and Twitter by using the platforms differently. Twitter, for instance, is a great one-on-one customer service channel.

Fenwick does a great job of storytelling using archival images from their rich heritage. Its imagery is beautifully created and the business seldom runs social media competitions. While comps are a great idea to drive engagement, for luxury and heritage brands it can be difficult to ensure a following is built on target customers. With 18,000 followers, Fenwick is clearly creating content that works for their shoppers and brand. In addition Fenwick regularly showcases and names its local stores, deepening a sense of community and history.


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W D Coe

W D Coe is local, independent and proud, yet it’s still building a 4,000-strong community across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Though less active than Fenwick, Coes keeps things personal by introducing its community to its social media manager. This approach clearly works as it accounted for its second most engaging post through January. The business regularly introduces its team via social media, creating a deeper relationship by providing the face behind the brand.

An Instagram round up post topped Coes’ engagement chart, while sale and product content has performed well for them on Instagram. Coes takes the time to style shots and visuals on Instagram demonstrating the importance of a well curated feed to drive engagement. 


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