New Frontiers

The Top 6 Social Media Retail Trends for 2014

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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.

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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

 

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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.