Tag Archives: Retail

Has Facebook changed your business?

The majority of business initiatives in social media networks fail to reach their objectives.

We all know it’s important, but not too many of us understand how value is created, supplied, transformed and consumed within social networks. Because in the main, these networks comprise dynamic processes that cascade through social networks @ NetSpeed rates.

Social media is rapidly redefining the way consumers research and buy products and services online. It is vital that companies connect with consumers where they’re at; and that is social networks.

Of the billions of minutes consumers spend on the internet, it is estimated that 22% of their time is spent on social media sites. To effectively engage consumers, retailers need to reach beyond traditional marketing and communications methods.

Moving Beyond the Traditional Approach

To do that retailers are going to have to learn where the cultures of social media, technology, and retail products intersect.

This will involve uncovering opportunities, highlighting the pitfalls and making strategic initiatives on how stakeholders within the retail industry can collaborate, cooperate and compete in this new networked world.

The ticket to ride will be effectively engaging consumers with the retailer’s message. As well as the understanding that control of the retail experience has been wrested from the retailer by the consumer. The retailer can only hope to influence the path to self discovery for the consumer in this fast-paced, ever-evolving digital world.

The Three Streams

Areas of knowledge to be gained fall under three broad categories of social media and technology:

  • Rapidly learn, recommend, comment, decide, try – succeed / fail; select and execute
  • products, channels, brands, stores, outlets
  • multiple media platforms (online, mobile, social, video), devices, protocols

Retailers will need to study the distinctions between dynamic, in-the-moment behaviors and at-home leisure times, as well as at work social media and technology behaviors.

The questions for retailers now evolve around

  • Achieving Social network connectivity: engaging network participants vs. passive observers; product influencers, innovators vs followers
  • Attaining Brand loyalty: examine the “Facebook and Twitter” effect of social media on your distribution channels, brands and products (how likely consumers are to talk about your channel, brands and products and make recommendations, and so make purchases based on other consumers recommendations)

The velocity of information has surpassed any companies ability to control it. No longer can retailers or suppliers control their brand, the release of information – their only hope is to remain an influence!

Social Networks and Retailers

Are retailers being left behind? Can they embrace social networks? Will traditional bricks and mortar stores blend their rigid strategies to include the evolving online innovations?

Social Media

Some retailers are not sure if the consumers engaging with them via social media channels are good customers or not. Other retailers believe these consumers may be their best customers. But the lack of certainty (knowing whether cross-channel shoppers are more profitable than single-channel shoppers) inhibits retailers’ from being proactive in their social media activities.

Retailers are still waiting for “best in class” strategies to become “best practice” and “common practice”.

This is a dangerous strategy because if a retailer is still trying to figure out how consumers use the social media channels, they are likely to be left behind.

Remember the saying “there are those who make things happen, there are those who let things happen and there are those who wonder what happened”.

There are many reasons for those retailers who end up wondering what happened, if you don’t understand social media; then you won’t have a lot of faith in the return on investment (ROI) of social channel initiatives. So it’s a case of becoming an expert or seeking out an expert to help make your business a value add in the emerging market of social media.

What do retailers need to do?

Every retailer must innovate to remain relevant in the new networked economy.

All innovation is a mix of variability (trial and error) and selection (the things that work). The trick is to know what to trial, where and when to trial it.

So if you want to join the ranks of best in class social channel retailers, you should seek proof points for the efforts you take to gain greater understanding of social media networks.

Whether your business model touches directly on social media or indirectly impacts it, it’s important to document whatever examples you encounter – especially value measurements.

Right now, the retailers who can prove the most valuable examples of social media have a window of opportunity to create competitive advantages in their market place.

Setting expectations?

There are the three things that a majority of retailers believe they should be able to do through their social channels:

  • Have consumers experience their brands and recommend them to friends.
  • Educate and excite consumers about the experience their products and services create for them; by communicating in with them simple ways (using their language.
  • Help customers locate stores.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill “this strategy is not the end, not even the beginning of the end; but it is the end of the beginning” of your quest to master social media networks in the new networked economy.