People are social beasts. Everything we do is influenced in some way by our relationships, so it’s no surprise that social media is now directly affecting retail. In this age of ‘f-commerce’, how should we react to changing shopper behaviour? Are there some basic rules to follow?
First, make sure that you integrate social media into your strategy and create socially integrated experiences. Your customer is ‘enabled’ – sharing and broadcasting to the world – so be part of that dialogue in and around their shopping experience.
Reassess your relationship with your customers. We should be thinking of them as ‘friends’. Friends trust each other and share their thoughts, interests and secrets. Look to build this rapport with your new friend ensuring, as with any conversation, that your tone is right.
In this new dialogue we must build trust, it’s the most critical factor in any friendship or transaction. We trust our friends, but today people are casting the net wider – think how often we use TripAdvisor. We look for and share their opinions and are more likely to believe them, good and bad. In gaining trust we need to be more transparent and honest.
Encourage the conversation with your customer. Integrating social media is vital but make sure you have the right tools, whatever they might be. Free Wi-Fi in store is the minimum; think about all the most appropriate and integrated digital platforms to enable the relationship.
One new key area is the development of online communities, especially ‘scrapbooking’ platforms, which let people visually share their likes, thoughts and opinions. Be part of that. Brands such as Nuji allow you to curate products and create digital scrapbooks… Pinterest, with 11.7m weekly views, is another powerful social community tool, and there are many more. Gather this community around your brand and the opportunities can be endless.
Implemented well, social media leads to what we really want to achieve – endorsement, let’s call it ‘brand advocacy’. Your customer is a friend for life, loyal and interested in what you are doing, saying… and selling!
Provide the tools
Create a community
Gain brand advocacy