Today, not a day goes by without seeing a headline relating to social media. During the past 12 months, social media rose with Twitter, YouTube, Facebook as they gather new users at triple-digit rates. At the same, hardware continues to run parallel by rapidly evolving, improving and becoming faster. Moreover, it is simpler for users to view information anytime and anywhere through smart devices. If you haven’t noticed now, in a matter of a few short years, the speed of change will devastate, invigorate, and create industries that we never before could have imagined.
Digital Evolution changing Store Dynamics
In the last two decades, the retail sector witnessed constant evolution and transformation. Globalization, mergers and acquisitions, and technological developments have drastically changed the retailing landscape. The explosive growth of the Internet is one of the main catalysts in this process. Internet helps the retail sectors in dealing mainly with intangibles or information products. However, these are not likely limited to these sectors. In other words, retailers of physical products must realize the empowered, sophisticated, critical and well-informed consumer of today. As a result, retailers can gain insights on customers who are substantially different from consumers they have always known.
Moving forward, the web – in other words, Social Media, gives consumers more control, information and power over the market process. In addition, consumers can also become aware of posing retailers with some important dilemmas and challenges.
So, the underlining question is, why should retail executives embrace social media as a critical new communications channel? The fact is – retailers who don’t engage with customers through social media in today’s market, could be missing the boat. The social media channels enable efficient, convenient ways for brands to stay in front of their most loyal shoppers. Also, businesses can attract new customers through the data analytics platform.
Consumers want to connect with retailers, to learn about their company, products and upcoming promotions. Companies use Social media channels to build relationships which require a balance of relevant information about its brand and culture. In addition to recognizing the positive momentum, social media benefits, retailers should also listen to customer feedback and comments. Firms must ensure that they are aware of any potentially damaging chatter while they can still do something about it.
When you own a business with brick and mortar outposts – through technology, companies can tap into social media and collect tweets, posts, and reviews about your business. Better yet, Location Intelligence can help you find out how people really feel about your store through the collected data. This allows businesses to get clarity across different geographies and locations to understand the nuanced differences in customer perception of your business to figure out what they prefer and what they do not prefer about different locations.
Personalized Customer Experience and Technological Developments
Not everyone gave it the credit that it deserved when social media came onto the scene – but there were a few who sought its benefits and rolled up their sleeves. Those few knew what it meant for them – that they needed to engage customers in a personalized way on all social platforms. Amongst the few figured out what it meant for customers – that they expected brands to deliver a personalized customer experience more efficiently than before. The few who were customer-driven used social to drive more human, intuitive, and seamless customer experiences at scale, and they rewrote the rule book. Below are a few key points that big brands are using social media channels to improve the customer experience and increase sales:
- Practice Proactive Customer Care as an Upsell Opportunity
- Leverage Advocates to Speak on Your Behalf
- Create End-to-End Shopping Experiences on Social
- Automate and Integrate Advertising to Increase Agility
- Unite Siloed Teams to Engage Authentically in Real Time
- Use Automated Technology to Localize Social Presence at Scale
The romance of in-store shopping isn’t gone just yet. The challenge for brands is clear. Young consumers – with their online shopping habits – are defining the success of brands. Millennial consumers now have a spending power of around $2.5 trillion, while millennials and Generation Z will represent 45 percent of the global personal goods market by 2025. How brands approach the new consumer will determine whether a style is eternal.
Written By: Ameet Gwalani
Chief Business Enabler