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How Can Retailers Strengthen Their Social Commerce Strategy?

Man working with business data on touchscreen

Retailers can strengthen their social commerce strategy by placing an emphasis on interacting with and responding to customers in a timely manner.

In an article on The Guardian’s website, Joel Windels, lead community manager with Brandwatch, writes that retailers more than ever need to “engage, listen, learn from and respond” to customers on social media.

Social media will become an area of growing importance for retailers as technology evolves and software is developed that can integrate with social. Retailers need to use external information — whether it’s from social media, economic reports or analysts — to plan their marketing campaigns and promotions. Use the data to build promotions and then measure them with a retail ERP system.

Brandwatch highlights a couple of retailers whose social media actions have backed up their social commerce strategy. In one example, United Kingdom online retailer ASOS found that direct tweets to the company increased from 2 percent to 5 percent when it ran promotions that included hashtags.

In a second example, a Twitter user alerted her followers that the color of the plus-size version of a dress at Target was labeled as “manatee grey” while the same color in a standard size dress was labeled “heather grey.” Target picked up the tweet, quickly responded and changed the color description online. While the company received 1,100 tweets about the error, backlash was kept to a minimum due to Target’s quick resolution.

That example involving Target illustrates the importance of monitoring and responding quickly on social media. Today, social media is primarily a marketing outlet for retailers; it’s a way to communicate with customers. For example, you could reward customers for “liking” you on Facebook by offering a coupon, and then promote campaigns, deals or news via Facebook that would then show up on their newsfeed.

Over time, retailers could track the success of social media promotions and campaigns. For example, perhaps 533 people “liked” a retailer’s Facebook promotion and sales increased by 15 percent over the previous season when no promotion was in place. Such information can provide retailers with an understanding of how successful social media campaigns are.

But do social networking technologies have enough longevity to be a worthwhile long-term investment for retailers? For instance, it’s hard to predict what social sites or apps will be popular in three years. Still, it’s clear that social media will continue to play an increasingly important role in retail as more consumers use social apps.

Source: The Guardian, September 2013