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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.

Is Facebook’s “Buy Now” Button The Next Generation Of Social Commerce?

Facebook is in the early stages of testing a new feature designed to help businesses drive sales through the users’ News Feeds and on Pages. A “Buy” button will be included in ads and Page posts as a call-to-action for customers to purchase products directly from a brand or retailer without having to leave their Facebook pages. The test currently is limited to a selection of small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S.

Wool And The Gang Creates Tight-Knit Community With Olapic

Consumers are increasingly referring to content generated by their peers to find shopping inspiration. In fact, shoppers find user-generated content 20% more influential on purchases and 35% more memorable than other types of media, according to research from Crowdtap and Ipsos.  Brands such as Wool and the Gang thrive on community interaction. In fact, the entire Wool and the Gang business was crafted with interpersonal communication and the “maker movement” in mind. The site offers a vast collection of knitwear for women, men, children and infants.

Key Considerations When Drafting An Effective Social Media Policy

In recent years, social media has become an invaluable tool that many retailers use to engage with customers, build brand loyalty and increase profit margins. Retailers can leverage social media as a broad marketing tool to post promotions and company news, connect directly with potential customers, provide real-time customer service and feedback, and even monitor competitors and improve internal communications.

ShoeDazzle Celebrates Independence Day With FireWorkIt Giveaway

Footwear eTailer ShoeDazzle is getting consumers in the July 4th spirit with the “FireWorkIt Giveaway.” Pinterest is at the center of the campaign, which is taking place July 2-14. To participate, consumers must complete the entry form and follow ShoeDazzle on Pinterest. Then, they create their own Pinterest board featuring footwear inspiration, and…
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Sephora Drives Advocacy With BeautyTalk Program

Consumers are “the best sales people we have in our stores because these women know about beauty — they really love it,” noted Bridget Dolan, Head of Digital at Sephora. To tap into this opportunity with shoppers, Sephora has created a thriving community of brand fans and advocates through its Beauty Insider Program and BeautyTalk community. Through the BeautyTalk community, Dolan explained, consumers can “share their unique perspectives on why a product is so great.”  Dolan joined Katy Keim, CMO of Lithium, during the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago, June 11-14, 2014, to discuss BeautyTalk and share their insights in a session, titled: Build Your Own Social Network And Stock It With Super Fans. Key takeaways included a look at how community building and one-to-one engagement are the future of social commerce. By 2017, 50% of sales will be influenced by digital touch points, noted Keim. However, she explained that traditional advertising tactics are no longer effective. Instead, consumers are seeking feedback from their peers (82%) and product/technical experts (86%). Retailers have an opportunity to engage consumers by creating a “network of shared value,” Keim said. “Instead of broadcasting and advertising to consumers, telling them what they…

Off Broadway Shoes Adds Sparkle To Social Media

Looking to capitalize on its partnership with Sony Pictures to promote the feature film “Sparkle,” footwear retailer Off Broadway Shoes wanted to improve its social media and email fan base. Off Broadway Shoes saw the “Sparkle” connection as an ideal marketing opportunity, and in turn, tapped advertising agency redpepper to launch an integrated campaign that generated buzz around the film. By the time redpepper fully implemented the campaign, Off Broadway Shoes had the fourth fastest-growing Facebook page in the shopping/retail category, accumulating more than 20,000 fans and gaining 18.5 million impressions in less than one month. During that same period of time, the retailer added more than 8,500 new contacts to its email database. To boost social media presence and followers for Off Broadway Shoes, redpepper created an extra tab on the retailer’s Facebook page dedicated to a Sparkle Red Carpet Premier Giveaway, which included an interactive game called “Sparkle Spree.” The giveaway offered two major prizes: The grand prize was a trip for two people to Hollywood, VIP passes to the “Sparkle” premier and a pair of Off Broadway shoes. The second prize, which could only be won by playing Sparkle Spree, was a trip to Hollywood for a…

63% Of SMBs Have Embraced Digital Marketing

Building digital brand awareness is not just for the big-brand retailers. In fact, 63% of small business (SMB) owners are actively using digital channels and solutions to market their businesses, and 59% of these organizations launched a web site using do-it-yourself tools and solutions, according to research from Webs.

Looking Beyond Engagement, Retailers Embrace Social Media As A Selling Tool

Customer engagement and interaction has gone digital, and social media is helping shoppers become more communal with their favorite brands — and also gets shoppers to share more information. Almost two thirds (64%) of social media users say they visit social media sites at least once a day via their desktop/laptop, according to a recent report from Nielsen. As a result, retailers have embraced the social storm to get their brands in front of target consumers.

Leading Retailers Tap Native Advertising Program From We Heart It

Several brands and retailers, including Candie’s, Hollister, JCPenney and Old Navy have registered for the native advertising program from social network We Heart It.  Targeting millennial consumers in their teens and early twenties, We Heart It is an image-focused social site that enables users to connect, share and like each other’s images.…
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Building Long-Term Customer Relationships With Social Engagement

By following their favorite brands and retailers on social networks, consumers can gain access to an insider’s view of companies and products as well as a first look at new releases, offers, contests and giveaways. Today’s retail environment has entered a “new social norm,” with more people using social networks on a daily basis, according to Nielsen in a recent report. The Digital Consumerreport concluded that 64% of social media users tap into sites at least once a day on their computers. Approximately half (47%) of social media subscribers use their smartphones to access social networks.

OverstockArt.com Boosts Traffic From Pinterest By 1,000% With Mother’s Day Contest

Prominent consumer spending holidays such as Mother’s Day are prime selling periods for retailers. In fact, consumers spent nearly $21 billion on Mother’s Day in 2013, according to the Prosper Insights & Analytics Monthly Survey.OverstockArt.com, an online-only distributor of wall art, tapped the holiday to generate buzz and social shares via its Mother’s Day Favorite Pinterest contest. Over the campaign’s duration from April 15 to May 15, the eTailer gained more than 700 new Pinterest followers and saw traffic from the social network increase 1,000%.

Connecting Social Media And The Store

Retailers are investing more time and money in their social media strategies. As many as 66% of retailers said they have a social strategy in place in 2014, versus 60% in 2013, according to Retail TouchPoints research. When used effectively, social media can help retailers generate buzz and even boost both online and in-store traffic. But retail executives, analysts and experts continue to debate social media’s impact on bottom-line results.

Social Influences 8% Of Online Sales

For years, retail executives have debated the business impact of social media. Although Facebook, Twitter and other sites are valuable engagement channels, it has been relatively unclear whether social networks generate sales. But new research from Experian Marketing Services indicates that social media sites account for nearly 8% of all traffic to retail web sites. As a result, more merchants are promoting their presence across these sites, and encouraging consumers to follow and interact with their brands.
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