by Teresa Zobrist of Zobrist Consulting, an IBM Business Partner
A high fashion retailer began selling a perfume exclusively on its Facebook Page already made popular through a Facebook sampling campaign where consumers provided their feedback on the fragrance last spring.
A shoe retailer’s use of Foursquare launched a campaign with women running all over London in order to secure a pair of the company’s new line of trainers. The company used the location-based service to check in at various fashionable locales; checkins were broadcast over Facebook and Twitter, and the first person at each site was awarded a free pair of trainers.
We’ve entered into a new era of conversation
According to the National Retail Federation, there is a growing number of consumers following their favorite retail brands on Twitter and Facebook as well as interacting with them. This high level engagement involves many consumers clicking on links posted on social networks to the retailer’s website and using social media to research products or services in which they are interested.
But with consumer content creation, it’s all about being in the conversation, at all times. Yes, retailers need to have an engaging presence with social media on their own that inspires people to come back on a regular basis. Now taking it to the next level and getting brand evangelists and social media community members to talk about their favorite retailers in their posts will be critical.
And while some retailers are just getting started in using social media for their businesses, the industry is steam rolling ahead at an incredibly fast pace. New social media sites are being created every day and the ways consumers use social media continues to evolve. Retailers must understand how is social media evolving and how will retailers be able to use it grow their retail businesses in the coming year?
Social media now offers a clear opportunity for companies of all sizes to sit at the same table and engage directly with the consumer. The proliferation of social media channels and devices has changed the way brand loyalty is acquired and earned. With the explosion of social media, businesses are making a solid attempt to be honest and open in their marketing communications.
This plays to the strength of small and midsize businesses that realize the potential of new information and communication technologies, but face the daunting task of intercepting and interpreting vast quantities of data to find meaningful insights.
In fact, Lee Jeans is using IBM analytics to capture consumer sentiment data generated from social media channels such as Facebook and brand rating website Bazaarvoice. Facebook ‘Likes’ and Bazaarvoice ratings are collected to help with marketing and merchandising decisions. Using social media and analytics, Lee can now make faster and more informed merchandising decisions to display the Lee.com site in a way that provides the best shopping experience for consumers.
Today, retailers are seeing the impact social media can play in engaging the consumer to be more of an active participant in the brand experience — and understanding this new reality could be all the difference between the winners and losers this holiday season.