Traditional marketing for retailers involved print ads in magazines and newspaper spreads, television ad spots, billboards, and signage within retail centers. Today though, the word ‘traditional’ is slowly starting to become obsolete as the rise of digital and social media grows.
In a recent 2012 joint research project by Shop.org, comScore, and The Partnering Group, entitled the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce study, the role of social media and the way it plays into consumers behaviors and buying decisions is apparent by the results which we will discuss below.
To help understand the case study fore mentioned, we have related them to the Top 4 Reasons Why Retailers Should Use Social Media:
1. Don’t ignore your consumers
According to the study, 2 out of 5 online consumers follow retailers through one or more social networking sites. As a retailer, being in front of the consumer at every possible opportunity is key. In the case of social media, the opportunity is huge. With communities that reach into the high millions, retailers that take advantage of the numbers will be able to tap into the consumer that is listening and looking.
2. Consumers are actively looking for product promotions
So why does a consumer even follow a retailer online? One of the main reasons is for product promotions. From free samples to first-offers on discounts and new products, the average consumer is more budget conscious than ever. The digital space not only allows for the increased flow of communication between users, but it also allows for easier, more immediate access to deals and new products. Retailers should take advantage of this, especially since the costs involved are much lower than traditional marketing avenues.Some other numbers:
- 4 in 10 consumer also say they look for product information on social media
- 36 percent want to post/read comments about merchandise or services.
3. Consumers are a sponge for your brand
“3 in 10 consumers who follow retailers via social media say they are actively looking for information about events, current trends and ideas, or photos and videos, such as “how-to’s” and styling ideas, as well as expert opinions”
The internet and digital space is full of so much information that knowing where to get the ‘right’ information is often very hard. For a brand, especially a retailer, being able to build a presence and ‘own’ your presence is essential. If you don’t, then you allow others the opportunity to come in and try to represent you.
Like sponges, consumers that follow your brand are looking to eat up every ounce of new information, new product, and new trend relevant to you. By those accounts, retailers can take advantage of this by curating the consumers experience and influence their behavior.
4. The perfect solution for retail
“Online U.S. consumers report that they follow an average of 9.3 retail companies through Pinterest compared with the average of 6.9 retailers they follow on Facebook and the 8.5 retailers they track via Twitter.”
While social media networks like Facebook and Twitter were built for the ‘end-user’ in mind, social media platforms have built many features for brands. These include features like Fan pages and Advertisement on Facebook, Verified accounts on Twitter and brand pages on Google +.
As the study points out, platforms like Pinterest are perfect for retail brands. Pinterest, a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more, is perfect for for retailers as it allows them consumers to pin new products and their favorites to share with their community.
Are you a retailer that is currently using social media? What are some things that you’ve seen effective and more importantly, not effective? Let us know in the comments below.