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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.

5 Last-Minute Strategies To Drive Holiday Sales On Facebook And Instagram

The holidays are fast approaching. Accounting for the majority of annual retail sales, this time of year prompts most organizations to start preparations well in advance. Deloitte is forecasting that holiday sales could grow by 5.6% this year to more than $1.1 trillion – bringing even more opportunity for brands to boost revenue.

The Eyes Have It: Visually Rich ‘Shoppable’ Instagram Content Tops Social Commerce Trends

Social media’s impact on retail has been well-documented: as many as 76% of consumers have purchased a product they saw in a brand's social media post, according to Curalate. More than half of these purchases are ultimately made online — 11% of shoppers made the purchase immediately, while 44% later purchased the item online. But not all social channels offer the same audience, reach or impact. It’s increasingly clear that the most visually oriented platforms are leading the charge to generate traffic, brand awareness and more sales. Retailers are being presented with valuable opportunities to deliver exclusive promotions on Instagram and Facebook, and Instagram may be the true wild card here — traffic on the platform is projected to grow 3X faster than overall social traffic, according to Salesforce.

Etsy, Target Top Halloween-Related Social Chatter

  • Published in News Briefs
With Halloween lurking creepily around the corner, retailers are making last-minute preparations to capture their share of a projected $9 billion in consumer spending. But social media conversations may provide omens about which retailers will generate the most revenue throughout the shopping day. The retailers attracting the most social engagement…
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Exclusive CEO Q&A: How Nike Wins The Branding Game

Nike’s hiring of controversial quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick was a gamble, but it’s one that paid off handsomely. The company sold out 61% more merchandise in a 10-day period following the Kaepernick ad’s initial appearance, and the company got a 31% online sales bump. But if other brands want to emulate Nike’s success by embracing hot-button issues, they will need to carefully consider their own brand’s public profile before taking the plunge, according to branding expert Erich Joachimsthaler. “Nike is a very special brand, one that stands for this level of irreverence, as well as athleticism, winning, authenticity and inspiration” said Joachimsthaler, CEO of global brand strategy firm Vivaldi. “Nike is fearless, and taking a stand has become part of their DNA.”

What Impact Has Social Media Had On The Fashion Industry?

We’re all aware that social media is taking over to some extent. And, we’re becoming more influenced by what we see online than ever before — especially when it comes to fashion. It was once popular for fashion to be presented to us through glossy magazines and catwalk shows. Through these controlled channels, fashion was kept exclusive, determined by designers and magazine editors. Fast-forward to 2018 and it’s a very different story.

Moltin Offers API For Digital Displays, Social Shopping

Moltin, an e-Commerce solution provider, has introduced an API designed to enable retailers to deliver holistic experiences to consumers when they interact with the brand, whether through interactive digital displays, social media, smart television, video games or any other touch point.

Sephora, Nike Leverage AR Effects Via Facebook Messenger

Four brands are presently taking a new approach to augmented reality (AR) experiences, integrating them with the Facebook Messenger messaging app. In May, Facebook revealed that it had launched AR experiences on its Messenger platform in closed beta for retailers such as Nike and Sephora, as well as ASUS and Kia. With these experiences, retailers and brands can leverage messaging to help shoppers visualize a product and get instant feedback about purchases, customizations and more — without ever needing to set foot in a store.  The future of Facebook Messenger as a means of communicating with retail consumers looks bright. As of May 1, there were more than 300,000 active bots on Messenger, and more than 8 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses each month — a number that is 4X the number of messages exchanged just since last year.

Las Vegas Shopping Complex Debuts Chatbot With Personality

Visitors to the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas now can interact with an AI-powered shopping guide through Facebook Messenger whenever they need better information to enhance their shopper journey. The chatbot, “Jules,” showcases a witty and sassy personality designed to reflect the mall’s audience of chic and lively shoppers. Jules is available 24/7 to address a variety of guest inquiries that pertain to the center’s stores, restaurants and shows, and can provide specific answers based on where users are in the 475,000-square-foot mall.

Exclusive Q&A: How zulily Grew Its Customer Base 24%

Data and hard facts are important in marketing, but there are also elements of “art” involved, according to Kevin Saliba, SVP of Marketing at zulily. The retailer seems to have found the right mix of science and art: zulily has made significant strides to widen its base and foster more recurring buyers over the last 18 months. Since Saliba took over the position in January 2017, zulily has increased its customer base 24% to 6.1 million active customers, while growing its private label credit card membership to 160,000 accounts. In a Q&A with Retail TouchPoints, Saliba, who also was recently named to the Wine.com Board of Directors, explains: The importance of balancing customer acquisition and retention strategies; How being acquired by QVC in 2015 has helped the retailer engage consumers through Facebook Live product videos; Why native advertising is benefitting both its brands and consumers; and How zulily-branded credit cards foster customer loyalty.

Lulus Raises $120 Million On The Back Of Strong Millennial Following

Lulus, an e-Commerce fashion retailer, has closed a $120 million investment from IVP, a venture capital and growth equity firm, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), a global investment management firm.   With the funding, Lulus plans to support growth initiatives like building out its East Coast fulfillment center, entering new categories such as shoes, and increasing its headcount.

Social Commerce Best Practices: Optimize Mobile, Match Products To Platform Strengths

Social media is no longer just a place for building brand awareness or loyalty: it’s another potential storefront, a frontier where the customer journey can take on fresh new forms. There are approximately 3.2 billion active social media users today, according to Hootsuite. The major platforms have enormous audiences that are too big to ignore: 800 million Instagram users (as of December 2017), according to Omnicore; 255 million Snapchat users (as of June 2017), according to TechCrunch; 175 million Pinterest users (as of April 2017); and More than 2.2 billion Facebook users (as of March 2018).

Exclusive CMO Q&A: Storytelling Drives Disruptive Apparel Retail Model

Two of the most important areas of responsibility at any retail company are Marketing and Merchandising, but at Matilda Jane Clothing they are handled by one hard-working executive: Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer Allison Flatjord. At another company, this might be a tale of competing priorities and siloed departments, but that’s not the case here. Matilda Jane bridges the gap by maintaining an unrelenting focus on its customers and a commitment to a unified brand message. “Our whole brand revolves around storytelling,” said Flatjord. “Every season we tell a different story, and in order to effectively tell those stories, we have to be really tight on marketing and product — everything that supports that story. So, for us it makes much more sense to have marketing and merchandising combined, to ensure the product supports the story you want to get across.”

#RIC18: How TechStyle Optimizes Personalization With Continuous Testing

For most retailers, one-to-one personalization is a goal to work towards rather than an actual achievement — but TechStyle Fashion Group is an exception. The retailer, which includes the Fabletics, JustFab and ShoeDazzle brands, has succeeded in making personalization practical. At the 2018 Retail Innovation Conference, Traci Inglis, Brand President for JustFab and ShoeDazzle, shared some key statistics that chart TechStyle’s progress: • The retailer sends unique emails to each of its 2.5 million members;• The emails utilize dynamic one-to-one merchandising across thousands of styles, individualized based on the customer’s preferences, clicks and purchases;• Targeted subject lines highlight the customer’s first name and the email offer; and• TechStyle personalizes the web pages members see based on their fashion and style preferences as well as their location.

21 Innovative Solutions Showcased At #RIC18

At the 2018 Retail Innovation Conference, innovation wasn’t limited to the educational sessions. Sponsors showcased solutions for some of the retail industry’s most pressing concerns, including marketing personalization; mobile applications; making loyalty and referral marketing programs more effective; deepening connections between retail associates and shoppers; and the latest in design and digital signage. Following is a roundup of the sponsors’ offerings.
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