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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.

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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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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Macy’s And Nordstrom Are Most Buzzed About On Social Media

RR Infegy imageBy monitoring social media feedback and conversations, brands and retailers can determine how top-of-mind they are with consumers.

Of all brands and retailers, Macy’s is the most talked about, with up to nine million shopping-related social media posts being published about the retailer, according to a report from social media monitoring company Infegy. The posts revealed that Nordstrom generated the most purchase-related posts, and most consumers perceived the brand as having the highest product quality and attractiveness.

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Super Bowl Social Activity Reaches New Heights, But Brands Fail To Capitalize

Over the years, the Super Bowl has evolved from the must-see event for sports fanatics, to a cultural phenomenon of sorts. Now, football fans or not, consumers across the country tune in to the Super Bowl to catch the latest ads from brands and, of course, the half time show.

This year's Big Game brought in the highest ratings for any Super Bowl to date, garnering a 49.7 rating in 56 metropolitan markets across the U.S., according to Nielsen. The Associated Press indicated that this stat means nearly half of homes in those areas were watching the game.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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%).

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Shefit Ties Commerce To Social Influencers With Shoppost

Shefit
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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