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.

46% Of Shoppers Have ‘Called Out’ Brands On Social Media

  • Published in Social
Social media has raised the stakes of retail customer service: 81% of shoppers say social media has increased accountability for brands, and only 8% would stay silent if they saw inappropriate behavior from a brand, according to Sprout Social. As many as 46% of consumers have used social to "call out" brands. Naturally, Millennials are leading the pack here — there’s a 43% greater likelihood that Millennials will call out a brand on social, compared to other generations.

Shopify Rolls Out Instagram Shopping Ahead Of Holiday Season

  • Published in News Briefs
Shopify has unveiled a “Shopping on Instagram” capability to select merchants leading up the holiday season. In this rollout, participants will be able to tag product posts within Instagram to showcase them to the social platform’s 800+ million monthly active users. Retailers have sought to optimize social selling tactics for…

Retail Events: Navigating The Speed Of Risk

For retailers, the story is usually one of the same: surviving the busy season. With increased customer demand, staffing requirements and dependencies on supply chains, the busy season has long stood as the greatest risk facing retailers. But today’s market is showing an increase shift when it comes to risk. As retail has emerged as an “always on” industry, savvy retailers are noticing that risks aren’t just coming from their busy season, but are instead present in everyday retail events. From weather-related supply chain issues to food-borne illnesses, theft and even security breaches, today’s retail environment is fraught with everyday risks.

Millennials Tap Video Chat, Messaging Apps And Social Media On Shopper Journeys

Retailers must understand how the buyer journey is being re-routed if they want to build long-term relationships with their most connected shoppers. A new survey indicates that Millennials are much more likely than baby boomers to use the following channels to buy products online: Video chat (3.1X more than boomers); Messaging apps (2.7X); and Social media (2.4X).

Innovators Point The Way To The Store Of The Future

The so-called “retail apocalypse” may have been debunked, but there’s still no question that the industry is in the midst of profound change. Retailers aren’t just looking for ways to tweak the shopping experience; many seek to reimagine every aspect of how they will interact with consumers. Pano Anthos, Founder and Managing Director, XRC Labs, brings a perspective that is both future-oriented and grounded in today’s retailing requirements. He has identified five key themes that are reshaping store-based retail:

Lowe’s Seeks Macro Impact With Instagram ‘Microvideos’

Lowe’s launched an Instagram Stories campaign showing DIYers how to redecorate a vertical room through the confines of a mobile-friendly, full-screen video. On Sept. 7, the retailer unveiled the first “story” of the campaign, which includes 64 microvideos that total a combined 35 seconds. Lowe’s partnered with the ad agency BBDO New York to create the Instagram campaign. The campaign was born out of the annual Facebook Creative Hackathon, and is designed to take an engaging, light-hearted approach to project videos, while showing how consumers can quickly change a small space into a more functional area.

LIDS, Lowe’s And Sephora Find New Ways To Tackle Social Media

It’s clear by now that for retailers, leveraging social media is no longer a “nice to have,” it’s a “must-have.” As new tools within social media channels become available to brands and retailers, it is quickly becoming a top resource for engaging with consumers, increasing brand awareness and even gaining more foot traffic in stores. Many brands have welcomed social media marketing with open arms and are seeing its benefits, triggering greater interest. In fact, 91% of marketers want to know the most effective social tactics and best ways to engage their audience with social media, according to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner. So the interest is there, but they might just need a little push. Retailers such as LIDS, Lowe’s and Sephora, among others, have realized the benefits of having a social media marketing strategy and are utilizing these offerings in unique ways this year, including: Bringing social media into the store through user generated content (UGC); Using “stories” features on Instagram to announce flash sales and develop unique campaigns; and Monitoring social media activity with in-house command centers.  Mixing Social Media With Brick-And-Mortar Social media is a great driver for UGC, which…

#DealBrag Video With Brooklyn Decker Targets BTS Shoppers

  • Published in News Briefs
The art of bragging about shopping and savings gets a humorous twist in a new video featuring actress (from the Netflix series Grace and Frankie) and tech entrepreneur Brooklyn Decker. The #DealBrag video is part of a back-to-school campaign from RetailMeNot. “We have found that when consumers share the news about…

Finish Line Boosts Return On Ad Spend 9.5x With Facebook Audience Targeting

Finish Line is automating customer prospecting for its full product line, increasing audience reach, and lowering costs-per-sale with Facebook’s new broad audience targeting feature. Using Facebook partner platform StitcherAds, the retailer ran a three-month campaign and generated a 9.5x return on ad spend (ROAS). Additionally, compared to other static prospecting campaigns, Finish Line saw: 49x more sales; 3x greater reach; and 83% decrease in cost-of-sale.

Community, Connections, Commerce: How Being Social Can Help Grow Your Business

Being the owner of an up-and-coming brand does not come without its difficulties. The challenges of growing a business may not have changed much over time — everyone wants to gain business knowledge, increase their distribution channels, boost brand awareness and have a support system to help push them further and grow their business — but what has changed is how we go about finding the solution to these problems today. Thanks to new technologies, we have ample access to the community around us, which in turn helps businesses become smarter and get results faster. The aspect of community is something already so prominent in our day-to-day lives. Consider this: how many people (friends, family or otherwise) do you come into contact with each day? How many people are you relying on for advice on where to travel next, information on how a new gadget works, some sort of personal service (we all get our hair done), etc.? Now think of how that number of people has grown since the introduction of online forums and social media platforms.

Strengthening The Three-Part Retail Customer Journey

Customer journey use cases that align with customer growth, such as loyalty and cross-sell, are growing exponentially faster (390%) than those focused on customer acquisition (28%) or conversion (119%), according to a survey from Kitewheel. These customer growth use cases now make up more than 75% of all interactions, while customer acquisition and conversion use cases split the remainder nearly evenly. “There’s a lot of opportunity to build a rich engagement with a known customer,” said Mark Smith, President of Kitewheel in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Once you’ve gone through that acquisition and conversion phase and made that first sale to a customer, at that point you then have a lot more information about that customer. You know who they really are. They’re not just an anonymous web visitor that you can track and retarget. That gives you an opportunity to use multiple channels to communicate with the customer and build a more sophisticated plan of engagement.”

ROI Of AI: 5 Ways Retailers Are Embracing The Innovation

“Artificial Intelligence (AI)” is being touted as one of the newest, most promising business technologies of the 21st century — even though its roots go back nearly 80 years. The fact is, the basics of AI can be traced back to Alan Turing and the Theory of Computation in the late 1930s; and the 1950 paper that helped inspire the 2014 film, The Imitation Game: Computing Machinery And Intelligence. But as AI has moved out of the theoretical realm and into the practical, confusion about what AI is — and what it can do — has grown. Even today’s smartest and wealthiest business executives seem a bit stumped by what, exactly, constitutes an AI solution. As recently as July 25, 2017, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk got into a social media feud over each other’s understanding of the technology.

User-Generated Content Influences 90% Of Shoppers’ Purchasing Decisions

As many as 90% of shoppers report that user-generated content (UGC) influences their purchase decisions, according to a survey from TurnTo and Ipsos. The impact of UGC outranks all other forms of marketing, including: Search engines (87%); Promotional emails (79%); Display ads (76%); and Social (63%). With UGC having such a powerful effect on shopper influence, retailers must understand exactly how to leverage this content to maximize its effectiveness. Jim Davidson, Director of Research at TurnTo Networks, noted that online merchants should expand their use of UGC beyond product pages.
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