The Top 6 Social Media Retail Trends for 2014


Social media has vastly changed the retailers landscape and there are many upcoming trends in social media which will continue to change retailers strategies. Customers can now see behind the scenes on shoots, how products are made, compare prices easily, comment on the quality of the product in an open forum and generally be more a part of the retail experience. Customers are no longer “the end user”, often, social media allows customers to be involved in many stages of the retail experience, such as MAC cosmetics re-releasing customer favourite products. In this post, we will examine the new social media retail trends for 2014.

1. Segmentation

Not all of your content should be shared on every platform. You should share specific content on certain sites. Carlos Gil explained it best with this handy guide:

  • Facebook is your community of brand advocates where you are posting relevant updates whereas
  • Twitter is where you’re having meaningful 1-on-1 dialogue
  • Vine and Instagram humanize your brand through colorful photo and live video
  • Pinterest connects your brand as everyday solutions
  • Foursquare rewards your most loyal customers

By using this you are tailoring your content to what your followers actually want to see on that social media feed. Customers don’t want to see 1-on-1 dialogue on Facebook, save it for Twitter. While this creates more work for your social media manager, the results are worth it.

2. Content

Amy Porterfield constantly stresses the importance of ‘Native posts’ as opposed to ‘Non-Native posts’. What this means is, you should aim to have your posts be part of the conversation, as opposed to forcing your way into conversations. Say less, show more is a good mantra to have. Customers don’t want to feel like you are constantly selling your brand to them. Sometimes an image with subtle product placement will do. Don’t force your message on customers, because that will surely drive them away.

3. Adapt

68% of Millennials get their news from social media and 66% look up a store after learning that their friends have checked in there. This group is expected to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017. This is important as Millennials base a lot of their purchase decisions on their friends opinions, so likes, shares, retweets, favourites, comments and clicks are becoming even more important to sell your brand. Millennials are big mobile users, so adapt your strategy to incorporate mobile based apps like Vine and Instagram.


4. Community

It is important to focus on the community of people who are already following you. Don’t constantly search for more followers, promising them discounts and promos. Some of your most engaged audience is already right under your nose. Embrace them, reward them and in turn the will happily become brand advocates.

5. Collaborate

It cannot be denied that bloggers are an influential group. It is important to leverage then advocates especially in relation to point number three, Millennianls are a highly influential group and seeing someone famous or with strong social klout will definitely work in your favour. Bloggers are highly receptive to advocating brands, this will be become essential for retailers to exploit in 2014 to stay just ahead of the curve.

6. Mobile

As mentioned earlier, mobile is going to be a huge trend in the retail world in 2014. Mobile payments are expected to amount to $90 billion in the coming years. We can see it happening already, people shopping on the go, on their commute. Customers are becoming comfortable with shopping on their mobiles and once people realise the convenience of it, mobile retail should grow at a huge rate

So there are the top six social media trends for retail in 2014. Retailers should quickly work to develop strategies for each of these trends, or risk being left behind.

Amy Porterfield: How to Effectively Use Facebook Ads and Email

Daniel Drucker: Retail Trends and Predictions 2014

Carlos Gil: Social Media Trends in Retail to Look for in 2014



Blogging for Business

How Effective Blogging can help your Business


There is a debate as to whether blogging in business is relevant in today’s social media heavy world. Likewise with SEO, is it dying out or are people being somewhat ignorant? The two actually work well in tandem. Blogs increase your SEO. Fresh content is still a key to beating out your competitors in the search engine results page. Having your blog embedded in your website and use effective keywords, without keyword stuffing, can help your SEO and page rank in Google. Having a blog makes your business more visible in the digital world.

Blogging is important for:

  • Driving traffic to your website. Your blog gives you the opportunity to create relevant content for your customers. Use this as a marketing tactic to drive traffic back to your website.
  • Position your brand as the industry leader. Well written articles demonstrate your company as an industry leader. By posting topics which resonate with your market and show your knowledge, you are marketing your skills for your business, service or product too.
  • Develop customer relations. Blogs provide another source to deepen the connection with your customer. By connecting directly on your website, your clients are able to get to know your business or product from the comfort of your online home base.

To ensure your business blog receives traffic and is shared, install plugins allowing retweets, shares etc. Make it easy for your readers to interact with and share your posts. Share the link on your own social media pages so that people can quickly share or retweet without having to go through too many steps. Don’t be afraid to self promote your blog. Gather subscriber names and emails and send out a monthly newsletter with a recap of blog posts you’ve written. Knowing your topic and knowing it well is what makes for content that can’t be replicated elsewhere and that readers will feel is worthy of sharing.

According to Hubspot, 46% of people reading blogs more than once a day and a rapidly increasing global population of blog readers, content marketing efforts are more valuable than ever. Firstly, determine your target audience, define your voice, and dive right in, because solid blogging can further the success of your business. 78% of consumers believe that organisations providing custom content, such as blogs, are interested in building good relationships.

Although there are numerous web-publishing services out there, there’s no denying WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger are the three most popular given their wide-reaching acceptance and deep integration on the web. So which do you choose? Each blog is custom-tailored for a different user and audience, so it’s really personal choice or which best suits your business. WordPress is best suited for professional users who want to outfit their blog with upgrades and plugins, Tumblr finds grounding in quick, community-driven posts usually lined with images. And Blogger walks the middle ground between the two with a sheer level of simplicity and easy-to-use design anyone can master.

Include calls to action (CTAs). They’re important because they can help direct readers to other relevant information, encourage your audience to move further along the sales process, and ultimately increase conversion rates. Be sure to include relevant CTAs in every post so it’s easy for your audience to move from one piece of content to the next relevant piece.

With each blog post, ask yourself this question: if this post was the only thing influencing a potential buyer’s decision to choose my company, would I want them to read it? If the answer is no, then you need to make improvements.

Adding links to your website through a blog is a great way to drive traffic. However, if they are not relevant or are broken links then this will lead to a high bounce rate. There will be people who may come to your site to read a specific blog post and then leave. This is still traffic to your site and means that your content is worth reading. The other side to it is people who’ve read your blog post and might then read another blog or take a further nose around your site and what you do which might then generate a lead. At this point we’ve turned a blog into revenue.

B2C – Get the most from Blogging

The Globe & Mail – Beef up your Business Blog

The Perfect Email Marketing Strategy For Retailers

Email marketing is integral to business and retail has a lot to gain from utilizing this cost effective communication tool. In previous posts you will have seen our tops tips and some really interesting statistics regarding email marketing as a tool and how the food and festival industries are using it. Now we will turn our attention to how the fashion industry is using email marketing to drive sales and increase customer databases.

You may notice that when you go onto a retail website for the first time, you are quickly greeted by a pop up, encouraging you to sign up and usually giving you 10% off your first purchase. The whole point of this is to capture your details so that you can be sent promotional emails.


Once the retailer has captured the details of the potential customer, it is important that certain factors are taken into consideration.

1. Mobile optimization is incredibly important for retailers (expandedramblings). Normally, there are images in the emails that retailers send out which highlight the product. If a customer is having to zoom in and out of an un-optimized email, the impact of the product is lost as well as the customer being frustrated.

2. Promos, competitions and sales aren’t essential. Retailers are lucky in that they are working with very visual products. Sometimes just showing new season clothes will be enough to make customers click through to the site paired with the right message and sense of urgency. Below are some examples. River Island used the subject line “Enhance your style with our shoes, bags + occasion wear” and used bold visuals to appeal to the customer.


This next email was from Net-A-Porter. The subject line read “Must-have pieces to wear to work”. Again no mention of a sale or discount but they created a sense of urgency with the words “Must-have”. This was paired with a graphic named “The Chic List” with the “essential style update” continuing that sense of urgency.


Fashion Bunker chose a tactic similar to Net-A-Porter by creating a sense of urgency within their subject line “Get Your Hands On Them Now!” This was then followed by an email filled with bright shots of clothes, graphic prints and lots of visuals.


3. Retailers should use their email marketing to promote their social media channels (Practical E Commerce). As customers have willingly signed up to receive these emails, they are considered warm leads, and can be driven to your social media channels to improve your online klout. This is very easy to do and simply requires adding social buttons to your emails so that customers can easily click through into your various social media channels.


4. Transactional emails: Transactional emails can deliver amazing results with the right messages to the ideal customer when timed properly. Transactional emails are those which confirm a purchase, notify a customer of shipping dates, explain a warranty etc. 60% of customers, don’t mind receiving marketing messages within these emails. Silverpop notes “Because these
messages reach customers at a time when they are most likely thinking about the company in a positive light, savvy marketers are eager to utilize transactional emails to enhance customer relationships, solidify branding and cross-sell and up-sell additional products”.

The opportunities for retailers are endless when it comes to email marketing. They can very quickly entice customers with visual graphics and by creating a sense of urgency. Retailers need to do more to incorporate their social media channels into emails as a means of cross promotion, and most importantly, retailers need to recognise the power of the transactional email. Nothing is more powerful to a company, than a customer who is open to their marketing message.

Expanded Ramblings: Driving Retail Sales with Email Marketing Made Easy

Silverpop: How Retailers Use Transactional Email

Practical E Commerce: 8 Ways to Integrate Social Media with Existing Marketing

Keeping your Business Social

Importance of Social Media in the Food Industry

Social media marketing is now considered more important than traditional print advertising in the food and beverage industry according to the Grant Thornton International Food and Beverage report, ‘Hunger for growth: Food and Beverage looks to the future’. The report revealed that nearly half (49%) of all food and beverage industry executives say social media is a top method of attracting and retaining customers compared with 46% for print advertising. A company website is viewed as the most important at 78%.

Over ninety percent of food industry executives agree that social media has completely changed the way consumers interact with their brand. Once thought of as an “extra” in marketing departments, social media is now a must-have, and one of the best ways to get results. It is estimated that over twenty thousand companies have a Facebook page for their business. With close to a billion people on Facebook, there is the ability for companies to target nearly any consumer group. The marketing department in Sainsbury’s claims that social media has been a great way for the company to reach out to their consumers via a more “holistic approach.” The ability for the company to have an open dialogue with customers gives Sainsbury’s a way to improve their business, thanks to direct feedback from customers via social media.

Smartphones is where most social media interactions happen. An increasing number of consumers are using smartphones and tablets to access product information while eating in restaurants and shopping in supermarkets. According to Scoop Business, 58% of people aged between 36 and 65, and 61% of younger adults, research products online, using smartphones or tablets, before going to a restaurant or when shopping at supermarkets.

In February 2010, Proctor & Gamble, makers of Old Spice, launched “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign with an online commercial starring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa. He is shown towel-clad in his bathroom as he tries to convince female viewers to purchase Old Spice body wash so their men will be just like him, or at least smell like him. The commercial premiered on YouTube during Superbowl weekend and has since received more than 26 million views. Five months later, Old Spice decided to take things to the next level; they wanted to engage and communicate on a more personal, intimate level, and so “The Response Campaign” was born. On the morning of July 13, 2010, Old Spice posted a simple message to Facebook and Twitter causing the campaign to become a viral sensation. For two days, Mustafa, answered queries on Twitter via YouTube—producing more than 180 videos in real-time. The result from the campaign was phenomenal being the fastest growing and most popular interactive campaign in history. The results were:

  • Twitter following increased 2700%;
  • Facebook fan interaction went up 800%;
  • Traffic to increased 300%;
  • And with more than 75 million views, Old Spice became the no.1 all-time most viewed branded channel on YouTube.

Case study from Zones of Social Media Marketing.

Timing is also important in Social Media. Posting and being available when your customers/ fans are online is important. You want to catch people during their downtime. You might need to get them early in the morning during their commute or “settling in” time at work, during lunch or in the evenings. It is also important to understand the timing may be different for their specific customer base or industry. Experimentation is recommended.



Why Your Event Needs a Blog

An event blog is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have at your disposal. Creating a blog for your event gives your company character, personalises your brand, and encourages customer loyalty and interactivity.

Event blogging is an effective easy-to-use platform for connecting with and sharing relevant information with customers and is the first step in branding your event.

Blogging should be a vital part of your event marketing strategy as it helps keep you connected with attendees and makes connecting with potential attendees for your next event easier.

You can use your blog to create a place to talk about the details of your event, announce performers and can be used as a place to offer more insight into the history of your event.

7% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog

Use your event blog to show people what you have to offer. Your blog gives potential attendees a strong idea of what your event is about and who the organisers are. Make sure the tone of your blog is the correct representation of your event.

Blogging and branding go hand-in-hand. Every post you publish to your site builds brand awareness. Make sure your website is kept relevant by regularly updating it with interesting content. Make sure that the content that you are writing reflects the character of the event and is of interest to the attendees that you are promoting to. A blog with no focus will not attract readers.

Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads

Writing an event blog will allow you to include keywords that your target audience will search for and find in your website. Keywords are an essential part of Search Engine Optimisiation (SEO) which can lead to increased website traffic. Google search gives preference to recently updated, original content that is relevant both in keyword and geographic area to the search performed.

A recent survey by HubSpot has shown that companies who write a blog get 55% more website traffic and 70% more leads. In addition, 57% of companies obtained a customer through their blog.

Through writing a blog for your event you can gain a valuable  insight into your audience and how they are using your site. Blog analytics allow you to track readers click-through-rates, monitor shares and comments and what time of the day or day of the week is most popular on your website.

The most important part of keeping your event going is to regularly put out interesting content and a blog is one of the most critical ways to do this. Continue to blog after your event has ended, this will help hold on to the customers that you already have and will help brand your event until the next event takes place.

Want to see more from Food, Fashion & Festivals?




Email Marketing in the Food Industry

Best use of Email Marketing in Business

Small businesses are spending about 15% of their marketing budgets on email (RestaurantEngine). It’s still above social media and even face-to-face contact as a marketing method. There is a continuing trend towards the use of mobile and tablets. Email marketing is ultimately suited perfectly for this as it’s easy to read and on the go. A recent survey, from January, showed that mobile phone traffic accounts for 36 percent of all visitors to a restaurant’s website (HospitalityMag). This is why a mobile optimised email should be developed and test to cater for all customers, devices and browsers.

Emails are effective only if they reach the intended recipients, five tips on achieving this:

  1. Clean your list. Monitor unsubscribes.
  2. Segment list based on most recent activity. Create a more compelling subject line for inactive users or provide a special offer.
  3. Monitor subject line rules. Avoid excessive punctuation and using money signs.
  4. Spam check. Most email service providers have spam check built in, however, it isn’t absolute.
  5. Monitor you reputation. Ensure your IP Address the emails are sent from is clean, increasing your score and reputation.

Email marketing can work fantastically well for retailers when properly implemented. According to the Direct Marketing Association, consumers currently rate online retailers as the best at email marketing, with supermarkets and high street retailers coming in second and third.

Remarketing is an important marketing tool for companies. Consumers are happy to received tailored messages, with many welcoming follow up emails, but there’s a fine line between creating engaging content and people switching off. Over a third of consumers say they actively welcome a follow up from retailers after abandoning an online purchase. Getting the message right and delivering it at the right time, with the right frequency is critical to success.

Personalisation is key to the success of a campaign. This and frequency. You want to create engaging content without making the reader switch off. It is also important to have a clear primary call to action and it prominently placed within the email.


Half of all unique email opens now occur on a mobile device. The iPhone is the most commonly used mobile device for email opens and clicks. Android phones are third for opens and transactions, but second for clicks.

For a supermarket or restaurants, email marketing is one of the best ways to regularly update fans on new products, events and promotions. It is also important to adapt to your customers and how they interact with information. Being mobile optimised, general design and containing gifs, moveable ink, video, encourages engagement and clicks. It is a marketers job to then ensure all links go to responsive pages. Otherwise, they are difficult to read and deter recipients from actually reading them.

Email marketing is an ideal platform for getting feedback from current and potential customers. Subscribers are a valuable focus group. They’re already interested and engaged with your brand and what you have to say. This provides an excellent opportunity to test branding, positioning, voice and tone, taglines, and more, in order to learn what resonates with existing customers before rolling these out to wider audiences. This is a great way to get subscribers to feel invested in your brand and encourage loyalty.

Designing email campaigns that are meaningful for all involved — subscribers, your brand, and partners — is the most effective way to drive desired behaviour and deliver maximum results.

To see more from Food, Fashion & Festivals, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Promote an Event with Social Media

Using social media to promote your event can act as an efficient way for you to connect with attendees from anywhere in the world.

Social media is one of the most interactive and cost-effective tools to promote your event. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have the potential to reach out to a large number of attendees.

Platforms like Pinterest and Flickr might also be right for you for promote your event on. And don’t forget video on platforms like YouTube.

Here is a run-down of some of the best platforms that you can use to promote your event and the reasons why they are so valuable:


It puts character to your event Blogging-Stats-01-1024x731

Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads. (Social Media Today) Blogging on your website will show readers that you’re more than just a business. It will allow readers to see your festival in a more personal way. Blogging can show character and allow readers to get a feel for the personalities working behind your event.

Blogging creates fresh content on your website

Blogging is a great way to create fresh content for your site and will help to attract traffic. Writing posts in areas of interest to your readers will help build a following of regular readers for your website. If you have advertisers on your site, blogging will help raise the number of clicks on adverts and will allow you to increase the amount of money you can charge for advertising on your site. Regular blog posts will also help with search engine optimisation.

Check out WikiHow’s guide to keeping fresh content on your blog.

Readers will be able to subscribe to and share your blog posts

You should choose a unique topic to write a blog post on with the idea that every reader will want to pass it on. Writing share-worthy content is a great method of pull-advertising; you write the blog, readers do the rest (Brick Marketing). Writing blog entries that appeal to your target market is a great way to get your name out there and show potential attendees that you understand their interests; this can reassure them that your event is a suitable event for them.


FbBuild a community around your event
A Facebook page should be set-up for your event and relevant information posted regularly. Creating a group surrounding your event will prove to be an effective way for you to build a local community. Flexibility and focusing on the details are key essential to building customers (HooteSuite).

Provide information to attendees

Use your event’s Facebook page to highlight important information on your event. Some information might include location of the event, price of tickets or entry fee, the schedule of the event and a link to your website.

Create publicity through photo and video sharing

Everyone loves to see themselves in a video or photo. Photos and videos get more attention and help your message stand out in News Feed (Facebook).

You can also generate publicity from the people who attended your event and those who follow them on various social media channels through them sharing your video or photos. Anyone who is a friend of someone you tagged can see the photo and will hopefully want to learn more about your event.


Make use of real-time tweetingtwitter_on_paper_1

Sending tweets out to your followers can keep everyone updated on what’s happening, as it is happening. Twitter is a great tool for keeping people connected with your event and allows you to promote it in real-time.

Find out what people are saying by using hashtags

Hashtags make it easy to track tweets and see what others are saying about your event on social media platforms. Use a designated keyword or phrase that is relevant to your event and encourage fans to use it (Small Business Trends)

YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest 

Youtube infographicBe visual, get exposure!

Include videos and photos of before, during and after your event and upload them to YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest for added exposure.

5 Reasons Why Your Festival Should be Using Email Marketing

Digital marketing is an essential part of festival organisation, especially one that is looking to appeal to a wide range of attendees.

Many promoters become focused on social media and are particularly prevalent on Facebook and Twitter.  Both platforms show great potential for event promotion but email can be a powerful marketing tool to promote your event.

76% of businesses are now using email for event marketing (HubSpot). It has become a reliable marketing channel for promotion and can effectively offer more ways to market your event, increase sales and encourage popularity of your festival.


Through an effective email marketing campaign you can remind customers of your festival details, encourage ticket sales, brand your event and give the reassurance that you are contactable for attendees who may have queries.

Personalise it

Cat using computer

Email can provide personalised communication between you and your current or potential attendees and is a valuable resource for a successful marketing strategy for your event.

By making a few tweaks and changes for individual subscribers, newsletters can prove to be a valuable resource and can improve your open rate by 30% (NewsWeaver).

Use the subscriber’s first name and send specific emails and discounts relevant to each customer.  If you know they are interested in a particular area of your festival then set it up so that information relevant to their interest is automatically added to their newsletter.


Customer needs can vary greatly. Creating varied offers for each segment will provide festival goers with a better service.

Gather information from subscribers on your signup form and send them newsletters that are relevant to their interests.

Separate your subscribers in categories according to age, gender, location and interests. This will make your emails more appealing and relevant to your customer.

Through segmenting your email subscribers you can deliver a marketing message that’s personalised to individual customers.

Check out this WikiHow list for steps on how to segment customers.

Keep it simple

Sending a newsletter with a simplified design will save time when you are changing it for your segmented mailing list subscribers. A simple design will also work better on mobile and is less likely to have elements removed by spam filters. Make sure the content and call-to-action of your email is clear.

Monitor results

It is important that festival promoters understand the effectiveness of their email marketing campaign.

Email monitoring programs are user-friendly and provide instant tracking information in real-time, which is extremely resourceful.

Software such as Mailchimp allows you to create, send, and track newsletters.

Some tracking features allow you to monitor:

  • Emails opened
  • Emails unopened
  • Number of clicks
  • Subscriptions
  • Unsubscriptions
  • Forwarded emails

This information can be used to improve your campaigns and learn more about your readers.

To see more from Food, Fashion & Festivals, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Retailers and Pinterest: blurring the digital and physical worlds

Retailers have become more aware in the last few years of the importance of social media, such as Pinterest,  and how it can drive awareness and sales. Digital marketing campaigns now need to step up to the next challenge of blurring the digital and physical worlds. If done correctly, retailers will see huge rewards and success.

When looking at retailers and how they blur the lines between the digital and physical worlds, a good place to start is Burberry’s social story. In this video, Angela Ahrendts discusses ‘blurring the digital and physical worlds’. Burberry have  engaged in a brilliant digital-physical campaign across their company. Burberry’s 121 Regent Street store is a masterclass in ‘blurring the physical and digital worlds’. They have technology which enables shop assistants to know what is in customers baskets online. There are digital mirrors that are connected to tables which, when a product is but on the table, the mirror transforms to a screen which shows the making of the garment. These are incredible marketing tools as the technology alone drives people to their stores for the experience. But Burberry have also embraced social media more than many other brands.

The first time I saw the video below, I thought it would be a while before we saw this more prominently in the retail industry, and that Burberry was an exception. But since then I have seen much evidence to the contrary. Many companies are embracing social media to bring their digital-physical campaigns to life.  Pinterest has gained much publicity in the last number of years as retailers have flocked to the online scrapbook site. As it is a predominantly visual site, with direct links back to websites, it makes it an incredible digital tool for retailers.

Just before Christmas, Topshop launched a brilliant digital-physical campaign. Topshop created a Pinterest campaign that works online and offline. Online, Topshop is encouraged Pinners to create a Christmas board with the tag #DearTopshop with the chance of winning some amazing prizes. This feeds into the Dear Topshop gift generator which is supposed to help customers with gifting ideas for Christmas. So Pinners generate a gift and pin it onto their #DearTopshop Christmas board. From this data, Topshop could see which items were pinned the most and they then highlighted these items in store. In the stores, the most pinned items had tags around them, letting shoppers know whats popular. They also had boards within the store promoting the #DearTopshop competition. So online, they encouraged Pinners to shop Topshop online or in stores, and offline they encouraged purchasing almost through a ‘Pinterest Seal of Approval’ as well as encouraging shoppers back online to Pinterest. It all comes full circle. One feeds into the other and in turn helps the other. It was a brilliant end to end campaign.

Topshop Pinterest Digital Marketing Instore   Topshop Pinterest Digital Marketing Instore

Topshop isn’t the only store engaging in this ‘Pinterest Seal of Approval’ idea. Nordstrom have a similar tactic of showing customers in stores what is popular on Pinterest. As well as this, they offer free shipping for the most popular Pinterest items with a separate page dedicated to these items online. Target are also engaging in their own Pinterest campaign with an online store called ‘The Awesome Shop’ which is filled exclusively with their most popular items on Pinterest, while in store they also have the ‘Most Pinned’ tags.

These are just Pinterest examples, but there are many, many more examples using different digital platforms. Personally, I think its a very exciting time for retailers, as they can embrace technology and all its potential like never before. Its time for shops to embrace digital and integrate it with their physical space and hopefully enrich the customer experience. Saul Berman of IBM recently wrote an article for Gigaom discussing how companies that embrace the digital-physical innovation, have more of an opportunity for success. Its time for retailers to use their imagination and to create ways of making digital-physical work for them, as the rewards may be further reaching then we can even imagine.