Tag Archives: social media

Time to get to grips with social media

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As I write this article, Amazon Prime Day, which ran for 36 hours across July 16-17, has been and gone. But it wasn’t free from issues, with reported instances of links not functioning and pricing on some items not the lowest available.

This resulted in some abandoned baskets and frustration for consumers who had deliberately postponed their purchases until Prime Day, which had been heavily advertised in advance.

An omni-channel approach to retail, while not necessarily essential, is advisable if retailers are to compete effectively against strong online competition. But you have to get it right, as Amazon inadvertently demonstrated.

So why should independent retailers make the most of digital marketing and in particular social media?

Retail giants such as Amazon and Currys PC World have huge budgets to spend on marketing, but that doesn’t mean independent retailers can’t expand their reach beyond their local community or stand out. By better understanding your market and tailoring content, a digital strategy can increase footfall in-store and sales off- and online.

The new 2018 Global Digital suite of reports reveals that there are now more than four billion people around the world using the internet. Independents have an equal chance to capture the attention of new and existing customers.

Don’t be put off by how many online shoppers there are. In the considered purchases category, consumers still want to go to stores for the experience – if you give them a reason to.

Gekko’s recent OnePoll ‘influencer’ research has conclusively proved that ‘over 50 per cent off’ shoppers still want to head to a store to see, touch and experience a product in person. An effective digital strategy can help attract these customers in-store.

Be social

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram can all help grow customer relationships and drive sales online and off-line. The trick is to listen, respond and promote in line with the customer profile you are selling to. Be creative, be professional and be engaging.

Many independent retailers don’t have an army of social media experts behind them. But it is still possible to leverage topical news and mentions of related products and conversations that can attract attention to specific products or brands you are ranging. A good example is the potential increase in SDA sales linked to news around broadcasts of Great British Bake Off (GBBO).

Don’t be afraid to use any opportunity to jump on the bandwagon. Get involved in the conversations across all social media channels to raise your profile.

Listen to your customers. If you are being messaged online, respond to and actually log what they are saying. The better you understand customers’ needs, the easier it is to sell to them and others.

If you build brand loyalty online, you can then direct the shopper in-store. It’s the perfect opportunity to build a fan base.

Responding to customer feedback online, good or bad, is vital to ensuring your profile and standing are heightened. Don’t ignore negative comments, these must be addressed and used to direct the customer to the store for more help or the chance to try another product – take the conversation off-line, but resolve it and then drive them to the store.

Ultimately, the main aim is to get people in-store. Social media is the ideal platform for retailers to post promotions, new products, launches and in-store events so that customers that wouldn’t normally see them are engaged and inspired to walk in. Promote ‘shares’ from other people and encourage a social culture among your staff. By doing so, it can only help to attract new customers to your store and more importantly your ‘high street’, with your store supporting a vibrant shopping environment for the community.

When considering promotions, the key to the right promotion is tailored communications. Experiment with Facebook advertising to target people near the store and send them an offer that they can’t refuse or a message that piques their curiosity.

Independent retailers have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and be different from the generic multiples – customers appreciate this in a saturated marketplace where a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is all too common.

Keeping track
It’s vital to track any online campaigns that you run – big or small. Measure the number of customers that have gone into store as a result of seeing an online advert or post by using promotional codes and training your staff to ask how they found you. This heightens the personal nature of in-store shopping, while telling you more about their customer.

Once it’s clear what works best and how to communicate with the right customers, those that will purchase, a digital strategy offers a world of opportunities.

Those of you who firmly believe it’s ‘not for you’ are increasingly alienating yourselves from a target audience. If you use social media in your personal life, then so do your current and future customers.

Read the full article on ERT Online.

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Can the In-Store Experience Complement Online Retail?

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With e-commerce growing at an exponential rate, the value of bricks and mortar is often overlooked. Yet, with 95% of all retail purchases worldwide still made in-store according to Deloitte, the high street and retail outlets are not the dying breed we’re sometimes led to believe. In-store purchases are projected to grow by over £190 million by 2018, so brands should be putting emphasis on improving the in-store experience to help customers make more informed purchasing decisions.

For brands to fully engage with consumers in-store they need a deeper understanding of the shopper journey as a whole. It’s about getting to grips with increasingly complex buying behaviours. With consumers using both online and in-store research to make purchasing decisions, particularly on considered ‘high ticket’ products, brands should be proactively using online data to enhance the customer experience in-store.

Getting the blend right

Researching products online whilst in-store, using smartphones and even smartwatches is becoming more common among consumers. As shoppers become increasingly more connected, 20% of shoppers measure high street prices online and purchase products via mobile devices in-store, according to research by Shopper Tribes. It’s clear that new technologies are having a significant impact on the retail experience.

To meet the ever-demanding needs of consumers, forward-thinking brands are increasingly using social media to engage with their target audience. Among 18 to 35 year olds, 14% are using Facebook to ‘check-in’ to stores and 15% use social platforms to discuss products with their peers. While social media is a popular way to engage with the younger generation, brands need to understand how to cater to every age group. For example, shoppers aged 55 and over prefer to use online research to help them make informed decisions when purchasing electronic goods in-store. In an evolving omnichannel landscape, a one size fits all approach will not work if brands seek to cater to consumers across the board.

Making it personal

While e-commerce is changing the way people shop, the average online shopping basket is broadly made up of smaller purchases. As such, when it comes to high ticket consumer and luxury brands, the high street remains the destination of choice for making a purchase. As shoppers, we will always be motivated by the ability to touch, feel and experience products before making considered purchases. Living in a digital world, the brand you desire to wear and use remains an expression of your identity and lifestyle. Having the opportunity to view products in-person rather than through a screen is a rewarding experience for shoppers.

Ultimately, the benefits of shopping in-store can outweigh the convenience of purchasing items online. However, for consumers to realise the unique selling points of the in-store retail experience, integrating an omnichannel approach is key. If consumers are researching products online, branding in-store should be streamlined to improve sales and product recall to enhance the customer journey. By using ATL advertising across digital platforms, including social media, brands can drive shoppers in store, leading to improved conversion rates and profitability long term.

Retail outlets and the high street can offer a sensory experience for shoppers that the virtual world struggles to compete with. It’s about building and enhancing this emotional connection with customers to make the in-store experience memorable and rewarding.

 

Read more at: http://performancein.com/news/2015/08/12/can-store-experience-complement-online-retail/

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Does social media ad spend equate to consumer engagement?

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Instagram and Pintrest have both announced that they are opening the doors to advertisers, and M&S is aiming to invest 20% of total media spend on social media to increase its story telling. And as if that wasn’t enough social media hype, this was hot on the back of the BBC claiming that it is planning to turbocharge its Instagram profile after an executive claimed that it has learned more about social media from brands, including Burberry, Nike and Netflix.

One could say that social media is making an impact on traditional advertising, as expected in a brand’s pursuit of Generation Y. However, what about the rest of us who are a shade older and perhaps with more disposable income, or younger or I hasten to add, just not interested in social media.

After all not everyone who likes M&S or its demographic customer is necessarily a fan of social media.

So is it a case that social media works for some brands but not all?

Gekko has understood through its shopper tribes research that the shopper journey which finished with a purchase in traditional retail has started online for 52% of those shoppers and therefore highlighting the importance of omnichannel for all brands but can you quantify 20% of your media spend on social media to generate 20% of total sales.

Claims by social media platforms would naturally draw any advertiser to favour one platform over another. After all, this is no different to how traditional media works. What’s interesting are the claims which don’t ultimately add up to sales.

Facebook claims that a recent campaign for mobile carrier Three achieved a click through rate of over 4% and reached 21 million unique users. The fact is, how does this translate to sales? No one knows the truth.

We can assume and attribute spikes to marketing spend, but I suspect in the long run we as consumers don’t necessarily want to mix are Social Media with brand advertising, and the negative feedback Instagram is receiving demonstrates this.

Now I don’t deny that social media is an amazing tool with which to engage, enthuse and affiliate a brand to a target audience and with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube claiming over two billion global users (101 million in the UK). It’s undeniably a powerful tool but we use it to connect with friends, tell our story and more importantly for pleasure to view and laugh at videos like Fenton the dog and sadly Psy’s Gangnam style, which to date is the most viewed You Tube video with more than two billion views.

Brands and social media platforms should consider, do we really want to be sold to every time we dip into social profiles and email via our smart phone a recorded 214 times a day. That’s a lot of ads and brands to digest and perhaps get annoyed with

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1KmhGO7
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A Digital Challenge for Brands: Creating A Consistent Customer Experience

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Understanding the shopper journey and what motivates a shopper to buy your brand is essential to ensure your brand speaks to your target audience. New research has found that the number of consumers researching products online before buying in-store has decreased by 7 percent over the past year. The study, conducted by OnePoll, asked 2000 respondents what motivates them when shopping in retail. The research reflects the changing relationship between e-commerce and the high-street, the Omni-channel. Buying behaviours are becoming more complex, with consumers increasingly using both in-store and online research when making purchasing decisions, particularly on considered “high ticket” purchases.

Recent research conducted by Epson Europe also found that 45 percent of UK purchases are made online, meaning that the majority of purchases are still made in-store. However the gap is closing, with online sales in the UK making up the largest share in Europe, 7 percent above the average. The study also found that 20 percent of shoppers purchase goods online while in-store via mobile devices, using their in-store visit to guide their online purchases. It’s clear that shoppers are becoming more connected in-store, with smart phones beginning to make a clear impact on retail. Researching products online whilst in-store is common and the norm amongst some, with shoppers now able to compare prices on the shop floor more often and likely to become even more common with the development of wearable technology.

In-store social media use is also increasing among consumers, with 14 percent of 18-to-35 year olds using Facebook to ‘check-in’ to stores, and 15 percent using social media to discuss products with friends. Engaging with brands and retailers through social media is most prevalent with the younger age category, with older generations shying away from the social experience however, they are increasingly using online research before making purchases. Shoppertribes research identified that 58 percent of shoppers aged 55 and over use online research to aid their in-store purchases of electronic goods, and in crowded categories, brands should not ignore such a statistic. With all age groups engaging with brands across many digital platforms, it is unsurprising that the online experience, be that through e-commerce or social media, is beginning to shape how we chose to shop for certain items and brands, with those in the 35 and under more likely to shop online for smaller purchases, choosing to go down the traditional and more sociable route of shopping on the high street for those rewarding considered purchases.

Although the number of shoppers researching online and buying in-store is decreasing, the importance of the Omni-channel experience remains clear. The impact of e-commerce should not be underestimated as nearly half of all sales, predominantly small as identified by the average online basket, are now made online, a number which will likely increase. However, the primary motivation for consumers to shop in-store remains: ‘the ability to see and touch the product.’ This desire to engage in the brand experience is common with considered purchasing decisions associated with high ticket consumer electronics and luxury brands. Increasingly, in our digitally connected, social media world, the brand you carefully chose to wear, carry, and live with as an expression of your identity and lifestyle needs to be seen in person and not in the virtual world.

The benefits of the in-store experience can outweigh the convenience of shopping online. Brands need to combine their approach with seamless branding between online and in-store experiences and streamline the overall brand experience for consumers. Matching online branding in-store can assist sales by improving product recall to guide consumers through the in-store journey. By using an integrated approach, brands can guide the shopper journey, initially driven by ATL from online and social media recommendations to in-store where the unique selling points in relation to the design and quality of brand products are realised in person, which online can’t always achieve. That retail experience remains more successful in achieving the valuable emotional connection consistent with a brand and keeps “shopping” as a sensory event rather than just another virtual experience.

 

Read more at: http://www.brandingmagazine.com/2015/03/25/a-digital-challenge-for-brands-creating-a-consistent-customer-experience/

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How important is digital and retail experience for brands?

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Now in its second year, new Shopper Tribes research from Gekko has found that fewer shoppers are researching products online before buying in-store, with numbers falling by 7% over the past year.

As buying behaviours become more complex, with consumers increasingly taking a multi-channel approach when purchasing goods, the relationship between the digital and retail experience is ever more important for brands.

Recent research conducted by Epson Europe  found that the majority of UK purchases are still made in-store, with 55% still visiting the high street when making considered purchases. However, the gap is closing, with online sales in the UK making up the largest share in Europe, 7% above the average.

The study also found that 20% of shoppers used mobile devices whilst in-store to make purchases online. Rather than purchase in retail, these shoppers preferred to use the high street to guide their online purchases.

With smartphones now in almost every pocket, shoppers are becoming more connected in-store, increasingly using their devices to compare prices on the shop floor.

Gekko identified that younger generations are also increasingly using social media to guide their shopping experience, with 14% of 18 to 35 year olds using Facebook to ‘check-in’ to stores, and 15% using social media to discuss products with friends.

While brand engagement over social media is far less prevalent among older generations, they are increasingly using online research to aid in their purchasing decisions, with 58% of those 55 and over making use of online research before making purchases in-store. Across the generations, the online experience, be that through social media or product research, is becoming more of an influence on shoppers in relation to those rewarding considered purchases.

Although fewer consumers on average are researching online before buying in-store, the importance of a omni-channel approach remains clear for brands. Although nearly half of sales are now made online, a figure which will likely increase, the primary motivation for consumers for shopping in-store remains: ‘the ability to see and touch the product’. This desire to engage in the brand experience is common with considered purchasing decisions associated with high ticket consumer electronics and luxury brands.

The benefits of the in-store experience can outweigh the convenience of shopping online. Brands need to combine their approach with seamless branding between online and in-store, streamlining the overall brand experience for consumers.

Matching online branding in-store can assist sales by improving product recall, and likewise employing brand ambassadors to guide consumers through the in-store journey can help convey the unique selling points of your products.

By using an integrated approach, brands can guide the shopper journey from ATL or online to in-store, converting shoppers into customers of your brand.

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