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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.

Top Tweets From #NRF15!

More than 32,000 executives trekked to New York City to attend the National Retail Federation’s annual BIG Show. The Retail TouchPoints team was among the attendees, and we had the chance to make new connections as well as discuss top trends and predictions for 2015. Check out which topics were trending on Twitter during #NRF15!


Charlotte Russe Increases Instagram Click-Throughs With Like2Buy

Millennials are highly social and have an innate desire to stay connected. Many of these young consumers rely on social media to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and show support for their favorite brands.

That is why social media is central to Charlotte Russe’s marketing and engagement strategies. Across Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and other social networks, Charlotte Russe is “running different promotions every day,” especially during the holidays, according to Kristen Strickler, Social Media and PR Manager at Charlotte Russe. Specifically, user-generated content has become a more critical component to Charlotte Russe’s campaigns and tactics.


The Data Cycle: The Role Of Analytics In Cross-Channel Campaigns

VP site only HelloWorld head shotAs the digital landscape continues to expand, retail brands are presented with more opportunities than ever to interact with consumers across channels and gather valuable insights along the way.

In a world where data begets data, the most potent campaigns are powered by cross-channel initiatives, which allow consumers to move seamlessly across social channels and experience brand messaging in a way that’s consistent and familiar.


Tumblr Ranked As Fastest-Growing Social Network In 2014

tumblrTumblr has seen its active user base grow 120% in the last six months, making it the fastest-growing social network in 2014, according to research from GlobalWebIndex. Tumblr edged out Pinterest, which reported an active user increase of 111% throughout the same time period.

The fastest-growing social mobile app in the last six months is Snapchat. With a 56% increase in users, Snapchat's growth has been spearheaded by a large teen presence in several countries, including: Ireland (38% of teens have used the app in the past month), Canada (35%) and the UK (35%). Not far behind Snapchat are Facebook Messenger (52% increase in users) and Instagram (47%).


Shefit Ties Commerce To Social Influencers With Shoppost

Influencer marketing is an effective tactic used by brands to generate buzz and introduce their products to new audiences. Today, more brands are relying on bloggers to review their items and educate online visitors about their businesses.

For example, workout gear brand Shefit sought to better engage Millennial moms. The brand partnered with MtoM Consulting to help establish an influencer marketing strategy targeting relevant bloggers.


How-To For Retailers: Maximizing Facebook Engagement With Images

VP Zog Digital head shotRetailers investing in social media marketing are finding success in terms of brand awareness, engagement and sales. As many as 93% of marketers are using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as part of their marketing efforts. New data is giving retail marketers more insights into what social practices produce the best results.

The effectiveness of using images on social networks, particularly Facebook, is no longer in doubt. Using images has been directly tied to increased engagement, with 44% of Facebook users being likely to interact with brand posts that use images. The higher quality the image, the more engagement the post generally receives. Research shows that professional quality photos get a 120% boost in engagement in metrics such as likes and shares compared to amateur images. Other social networks are also putting more emphasis on images lately, with LinkedIn and Twitter releasing updates that allow users to upload larger images.


Woodie’s Embraces Social Media Monitoring To Build DIY Community

WoodiesRetailers are building up their social media teams in order to establish thriving communities and long-lasting relationships with consumers. But some retailers do not have bandwidth to develop a dedicated team to manage and post to social networks.

For example, Woodie’s, an Ireland-based home improvement retailer, just established its social strategy less than a year ago as part of a major brand change. Now, Laura Lynam, who is a marketing executive at Woodie’s, is focused on building up its social presence, and testing new engagement and marketing strategies across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other networks.


Most “Empty-Nesters” Consult The Web, Browse And Buy Via Mobile

RR InfluenceCentral ImageAs many as 82% of “Empty-Nester Boomers” spend more time browsing for products online than in-store, according to a report from Influence Central and Vibrant Nation. Empty-Nester Boomers are characterized as shoppers born between the years 1946 and 1964 who do not have children living at home.

The Influence Central Consumer Insights Group conducted, programmed and analyzed the report, titled: Redefining Empty-Nesters: How The Power Generation Takes Control Of Consumer Purchasing. Influence Central and Vibrant Nation surveyed more than 600 American women 45 years and older via an online survey.


American Apparel Fosters Social Advocacy

For American Apparel — which has a core audience of Millennials and tweens — engaging, communicating and sharing information via social media is paramount to building relationships and fostering long-term loyalty. 

Helping to create a direct link between the American Apparel brand and its loyalists, social media “is an essential platform to articulate brand awareness,” according to Patrick Riley, VP of IT at American Apparel. “New styles, company values, community relationships, events and collaborations are all supported by the social media structure.”


Has Social Media Helped Democratize The Fashion Industry?

FEAT Fashion Week imageThis year, magazine editors, tastemakers, bloggers and even designers figuratively ripped down the velvet ropes and gave consumers an inside look at Fashion Week festivities.

Typically known as the most exclusive event of the year, Fashion Week has evolved into a highly digitized and social event. More attendees are turning to Instagram, Twitter and other social networks to share behind-the-scenes footage of shows from coveted designers, such as BCBG Max Azria, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta.


Tilly’s Launches “SNAP SHOP” Visual Search Feature On Mobile Site

Tillys ImageWhen consumers see a product they like, they often have an impulse to purchase it right then and there. But if a shopper sees a product in a print item, such as a catalog, they cannot act on this impulse successfully.

Tilly’s, a retailer specializing in action sportswear and accessories, has unveiled the “Tilly’s SNAP SHOP” service, which was developed by visual search platform provider Slyce. The “snap-to-buy” functionality is designed to enable Tilly’s shoppers to open the mobile web site on their smartphone, snap photos of items in Tilly’s seasonal collection catalogs and immediately purchase these items via their personal devices.


Smocked Auctions Tackles Social Selling With Soldsie

The e-Commerce landscape is flooded with an endless amount of retailers looking to distinguish their brand from the pack. With social media further bridging the consumer-retailer relationship, more companies are being creative in using it to market and sell their products.

Smocked Auctions, an online retailer of designer baby and children’s clothing, has driven more than $1.5 million in sales and more than 50,000 transactions since selecting social shopping platform Soldsie along the implementation of e-Commerce solution Magento.


Amazon Introduces #AmazonWishList For Twitter

amazon-wish-listWith the holiday season kicking off soon, Amazon has developed a new way for customers to add items to their Amazon wish lists.  

Consumers can now update their wish lists on Twitter using the hash tag #AmazonWishList. When shoppers find tweets from brands and friends that include a product links, they can reply with the hashtag and immediately have the product added to their wish list.


Retailers Must Tap Social Advocacy To Shape Omnichannel Strategies

RTP RT032 FEAT Advocacy imageMany retailers may believe they’re already doing a fine job of listening to their customers. After all, they see shoppers in their stores; track their online and mobile shopping patterns and eventual purchases; and in some cases, leverage loyalty and customer relationship management programs to paint detailed portraits of who their customers are, as well as the value they represent to the retail organization.

Useful as all these research tools are, they simply aren’t capable of keeping up with the newly energized, highly empowered customer. Today’s consumer is increasingly aware not only of what she wants but when she wants it, how she wants it delivered and even how much she wants to pay for it. Her expectations around product availability, depth of information, and delivery options have risen sharply, fueled by the immediacy of search engines, smart devices and a crowd of competitors ready to meet the most specialized request.


Finding The Right Audience With Social Analysis

VP site only Networked Insights head shotThe World Cup dominated the news this summer, even in publications that don’t typically cover sporting events. Despite the early U.S. elimination, American consumers and brands stayed involved in the action from their introduction to Cristiano Ronaldo to Luis Suarez’s bite to Germany’s impressive win. More importantly for marketers, the Cup provided evidence that real-time marketing has come a long way since Oreo’s legendary Super Bowl 2013 Blackout tweet.

Regardless of World Cup sponsorship status, brands leveraged the excitement in marketing activities, some more successfully than others. Examples include the anticipated Nike Risk Everything campaign, the commercial from Cup newbie Beats by Dre’s Game Before the Game campaign and the inevitable Coca-Cola v. Pepsi battle.

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