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Social means so much more than a Facebook page or a Tweet these days. Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest — to name a few — are making their mark on the retail marketplace. But are they short-term trends or do they have the staying power to become long-term solutions? What are the best approaches for retailers? What does the future hold? These and other key questions are asked and answered in this section.

Stylematch Makes Street Style Shoppable With Stackla

1 StyleMatch case studyTo acquire fashion inspiration, many shoppers turn to fashion blogs and user-generated content (UGC) featuring every day “street style.” In fact, blogs are the third most influential digital resources for consumers making a purchase (31%), following behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%), according to the Technorati Digital Influence Report.

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4 Social Media Tips For Back-To-School Marketing Campaigns

VP site only HelloWorld headshotPicture this: It’s mid-June and eager students sit in a stuffy classroom, counting silently until the school bell rings. No sooner does the clock strike three, they bolt from their seats, through school doors and into the sweet release of summer vacation. But while students can put English, math and science on the back burner, brands are already plotting back-to-school campaigns.

For many marketers, planning full-scale campaigns begins in early spring, before school even lets out. For others, solutions aren’t so simple. After all, the first day of school varies by county and certain audiences, like college students, hit the books before others. In some situations, back-to-school may fall to the bottom of the priority list, causing brands to scramble to create impactful campaigns. So what’s a brand to do? For those with tight time restraints, there is an array of quick-to-market social campaigns capable of engaging audiences with modest lead time. Here are four of our favorites:

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Indie Marketplace Moorea Seal Drives Social Engagement And Sales With Like2Buy

For independent retailers, the vital first step for building a thriving business is creating a community of engaged customers. Over the years, Instagram has become a valuable network for brands looking to connect with shoppers and drive ongoing loyalty. In fact, the social network’s overall share of engagement has increased from only 16% in Q1 2013 to 28% in Q1 2014, according to L2 research.

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8 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Store Through Instagram

VP Bindo headshotInstagram has 300 million active users visiting the site each month, making it a valuable social network for brands and retailers.

If you’re new to Instagram, start with the basics: Create a username that closely matches your business. In cases where your name is already taken, get creative, but also don’t make yourself too hard to find. For example, we had to pivot a little with @shopBindo. Then, select a password that is easy to remember.

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The Retail Loop: 3 Tips To Bring Your Customers Back Time And Again

1 SamaraTake a moment and ask yourself this question: “Which customer provides the largest ROI — the customers that love my brand, act as advocates, and shop time and again? Or opportunity shoppers who get what they need in the moment and only return in the future because of expensive outbound marketing such as coupons or sales?” It’s a fact: An ongoing relationship that drives repeat purchases is far more valuable than a one-time customer. According to Retention Science, Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

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Smith Optics Boosts Conversion Rates By 30% With ReadyPulse Marketing Suite

Social media provides unique value to retailers’ marketing campaigns, allowing them to promote branded content and images that align with the brand but still reach a large pool of consumers. With numerous networks to choose from, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, retailers can interact directly with consumers through messaging, photo sharing and video sharing and gather opinions that can help shape their brand.

Smith Optics, a retailer of eyewear and outdoor gear, leveraged the Pulse Marketing Suite from social content marketing platform provider ReadyPulse to curate user-generated content (UGC) and link it with relevant products. The retailer had initially partnered with ReadyPulse to reduce the time necessary to track its sponsored athletes’ social activities, and measure the ROI of each athlete to determine their most valuable sponsorships.

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Leading The Charge: How To Stay Relevant In The Evolving Digital World

VP Celerant head shotRetailers don’t need to be told that they exist in an ultra fast-paced, quickly evolving, and insanely competitive space. There is no time to be complacent and those who aren’t leading are probably lagging. When it comes to e-Commerce, the curve is even more exponential. Each day a retailer slips behind the competition equates to more effort and resources required to catch up than the previous day.

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13 Retailers Recognized As Social Media Mavens

shadow RTP RT053 AWD SocialMediaMavenAwards Mar 2015Nearly a decade ago, social media was a small fraction of retailers’ marketing mix. Most of the time, businesses were focused on building up their social profiles and pushing out messages and coupons to their followers.

But now, the rules of social engagement have changed: Best-in-class retailers understand that ongoing communication, information sharing and engagement drive successful social initiatives.

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83% Of Organizations Don’t Think Current IT Systems Will Meet Future Contact Center Needs

RR DimensionData ImageUp to 83% of organizations indicate that their current IT systems are not equipped to meet future business needs, especially within their contact centers. Furthermore, 33% of executives say that their current systems don’t even meet current needs, according to research from Dimension Data.

To address these challenges, organizations are exploring new solutions and are designing innovative technology frameworks. For one, they are implementing a new hybrid technology model in which legacy systems work alongside cloud-based solutions.

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86% Of Consumers Believe Ratings/Reviews Are Essential To The Shopping Experience

feedbackWith social media, consumers have the ability to connect and communicate with people all over the world. Whether friends, family or complete strangers, consumers have come to rely on their peers for feedback and validation.

Because consumers consider social networks such active and valuable communities, they have come to expect the same peer-driven experience as they shop online, according to new research from PowerReviews.

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Neiman Marcus Embraces User-Generated Content With #NMmyway Contest

Recognized as a thought leader in the fashion world, Neiman Marcus recently released its top trends for spring 2015. Bohemian styles, fringe, suede, spice colors and sleeveless jackets all will be “hot” during the season, and the luxury retailer is encouraging consumers to share their interpretations of these trends with a new social media contest. 

Called #NMmyway, the contest encourages consumers to snap photos of themselves wearing the top trends shared by Neiman Marcus on Instagram using the designated hash tag. Fashion aficionados who put the most creative spin on these trends will be qualified to win a $500 Neiman Marcus gift card. The contest runs from Feb. 11-25, with the winners selected in March 2015. The Neiman Marcus web site will feature all winners and their photos.

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Party Galaxy Sees 1,520% Boost In Social Media-Driven Site Traffic With SocialCentiv

Retailers can use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with brand fans and even engage prospective customers. Some retailers are bringing their social strategies to the next level by using tools and implementing campaigns that drive traffic to their stores and e-Commerce sites, and eventually, boost sales.

For example, Party Galaxy, a party favor, decoration and costume retailer, used the Twitter marketing tool SocialCentiv to increase traffic generated by social media by 1,520%. Over the course of several months, Party Galaxy also tripled the number of its Twitter followers.

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