Retail social media fitness tips


social mediaWith more than 1 billion active Facebook users at the end of May 2013, saying your customers are not on Facebook is almost like saying they don’t watch TV.

With such a large marketing opportunity, why are we happy to pay big dollars to advertising agencies to produce our broadcast television advertising, but still only accepting that social media too requires investment.

Retail has and is undergoing a radical transformation, underpinned by a changing customer, with well documented technology changes including the growth of online retailing through to omni-channel retail.

Just as previous generations would talk of communities of living, socialising and commuting, we now also speak of communities as social with a somewhat different meaning. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest now create virtual communities in real time.

All help us form communities in real time, with consumers of similar aspirations, attitudes, and dislikes linking via social media, extolling their opinion and being heavily influenced by the attitudes of their peers.

Lorna jane instoreBy way of example, Lorna Jane is well known as the Australian retail leader in social media integration, and for good reason. It has built a strong social media community through its 724,000 strong Facebook page, where conversation and feedback is strongly encouraged.

Interactive technology instore entices Lorna Jane customers to photograph themselves wearing the product and share it with friends. This is particularly suited to its target market of young, sociable, and active women.

The next big social media move by this savvy retailer is into the world of Pinterest. Lorna Jane now has more than 10,000 followers of its boards, which feature a mix of product and lifestyle based ‘pins’.

Did you know that from 2011 to 2012, unique visitors on Pinterest grew a whopping 286 per cent from 700,000 to more than 20 million? In fact, a recent Pew study has shown that 15 per cent of internet users are now on Pinterest, making it the third most popular social medium.

Lorna Jane pinterest

Another fantastic global example of social media integration in store is C&A in Brazil, which makes the most of peer pressure by displaying the number of times items have been ‘liked’ on Facebook on the product’s hanger.

When it comes to converging your social media channel into your overall brand experience, there are seven key principles for retail fitness:

1. Understand if the social media channel is both suited to your brand and inhabited by your customers.

2. Build a Facebook brand page that surprises and delights your customers and the community so that they’ll share their experience.

3. Create a voice that marries your brand and an experience that draws customers in.

4. Start with the customers you already know and build from there.

5. Listen to what your customers are saying. You’ll find incredible insights into your product and business. Then act accordingly and tell them what you’re doing.

6. Encourage and join the conversation, but be relevant and only add value, thereby giving people a reason to interact with you.

7. Encourage staff to participate in conversation.

Online you can ‘poke’ someone, ‘like’ something, ‘friend’ someone, or ‘share’ something, but nothing can replace the experience that a face to face meeting provides.

In retail, this is the same with an instore experience. The physical store space must surprise and delight at every single level from colour schemes, layout, innovative merchandise, unique product presentation and effective, unusual lighting right through to the personal shopper sales and service experience.

So what does this all mean for retailers? Well essentially it means to embrace the right social media channel, invest in the resource required to grow, and in doing so offer your customers a richly integrated customer experience with your instore experience as the jewel of the crown drawing new brand advocates through the use of your social media strategy.

I welcome you to follow us on Twitter @retaildoctor where I will share photos and updates over the coming weeks as I join our global Ebeltoft Group partners for knowledge sharing and a retail tour of Paris.

Happy fit retailing

Brian Walker


Retail Doctor Group


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