Retailers should view social shopping not only as a way to achieve more personalized engagement with customers and drive sales, but as an opportunity to collect valuable data that can help shape future business decisions.
At the NRF Big Show 2014 in New York City, representatives from BaubleBar and Resource Interactive, a digital marketing agency, came together to discuss social shopping trends that can boost customer engagement and provide insights into buyer behavior.
Although a key benefit of social media is the opportunity for personalized exchanges with customers, retailers should not overlook the value of the data gathered during social interactions.
“Every retailer, at some point in time, tries to figure out who their ideal customer is,” said Daniella Yacobovsky, Co-Founder of BaubleBar. “We see our social channels as a manifestation of who that shopper really is.”
By engaging with customers via social media, retailers can gain valuable insight about their target audience with minimal effort, according to Williams. With social media, retailers also have access to a wealth of user-generated content, or earned media. This form of media helps marketers identify brand advocates, as well as refer to use content and feedback for future campaigns.
“Users are really creating a ton of content out there that retailers can aggregate and curate to use for their advantage,” Williams said. “I think we are going to see this trend evolve where we’ll see user-generated images used as product photos by a brand.”
Social interactions are not intended to turn a retailer’s social channel into another area to sell product, according to the panelists. Understanding your target audience — and having meaningful interactions with them — can lead to deeper insights than typically discovered during an in-store purchase.
“Our goal is to engage customers in a way where they want to share their thoughts and opinions about the product,” Yacobovsky said. “If people wanted to see what we thought about our product, they would go to our company web site.”