The other day I walked into a local retail shop and noticed that they were having some kind of an “event”. The place was overflowing with people who were interacting, laughing and having an all around good time – inside of a retail space. When I asked one of the associates what was going on, they said they were having a “meet up” of all their active local social media fans. The interesting thing about these fans is that their hands were full of product!
When it comes to reaching out to a larger audience and generating more sales, retailers today are adopting social media and taking advantage of digital marketing. The reason for this is simple: social media gives retailers a clearer insight by letting them study valid consumer data while inviting their prospects/customers to socialize/interact and be a part of a thriving community. And this is working because knowing your customer base and understanding/predicting customer trends are both important for success in retail.
1. Moving from Print Media to Digital Marketing
While having a well-designed website is an important step towards gaining an online presence, it’s also the most basic. Today retail companies are realizing that they need to go beyond the traditional approach and have a strong social media presence for developing their brand further and making it a success.
The fresh and new “retail marketing movement” is lead by social platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. Besides that, using microblogging platforms such as Twitter, retail companies are learning from their buyers while keeping track of consumer trends. For many clothing retailers, targeted video lookbooks and even short films about their collections go hand in hand with customer’s want for a highly interactive experience. For example, an online store that sells men’s clothing can have a video specifically about their Sport Shirts collection, which can then be shared on various social platform and spread by word of mouth.
2. Enhancing or Improving Customer Service
Leading retailers are taking advantage of social media marketing by adding the social factor on their own websites. Besides using the popular social media platforms/tools available today to build relationships, they have their own product Q & A forums where the customers can interact with each other, and can review the different products sold on their site. Having such options lets these retailers build a better relationship with the customers by giving them a better, more fulfilling experience.
Retailers are exploring the power of social in the online world in a more significant way. The idea of helping their customers connect with each other and at the same time connect with the key people in the company is not only being adopted more openly, but is also growing. This shows that social media for many retail companies is no longer limited to a specific platform.
3. Merging the Old and New Together
Retail companies are leveraging social media to not only promote and build their brand image, but also to promote different company sponsored events. Let’s take the example of pop-up shops, where stores aim to attract buyers by presenting a “limited version” of their product and offering a sample of this product.
The pop-up stores are proving to be highly successful because social media outlets are accustomed to promoting them. These social media outlets serve as a virtual venue for video footage and event photos, where the attendees are able to communicate and at the same time, give feedback on various products. This is the marriage of traditional retail marketing tactics with the new digital approaches, letting retailers make the most out of social media.
Overall, social media marketing is ideal for retailers. It’s inexpensive, builds relationships locally and worldwide and when used properly will convert passers by to loyal customers.
Name: Ivana S. Taylor
About: Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing strategies that help entrepreneurs and business owners get and keep profitable customers. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers.