Social Media Strategies in Global Retailing
As membership of online social networks grows, social media has become an increasingly important medium for retailers to engage with their customers and the broader market. This report examines the key drivers behind a social media strategy, outlines some key considerations and provides a wealth of case studies and specific recommendations to ensure effective implementation of the strategy.
Features and benefits
- Enhance your business case for investing in social media by understanding how you can use it to interact with your customers more frequently.
- Maximize your use of social media for customer service purposes by uncovering other retailers’ approaches to issues such as response time.
- Operate superior social media strategies by uncovering the key players who can assist you in the implementation of your social media strategy.
- Glean ideas for your social media strategy by uncovering the most innovative examples taking place globally.
- Discover the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns by understanding your customers' perception of your business.
The proportion of the population engaging with social media is in excess of 50% in some markets. Social networking sites can broadly be divided into four key categories: people-based, content-based, and special interest-based sites, and virtual worlds. Typically, people- and content-based sites have been used by retailers.
Retailers can deliver enhanced customer service by using social media to deliver specialist knowledge to consumers. Retailers such as Lowe's, Waitrose and Topshop have all used YouTube to deliver instructional how-to videos and in doing so encourage consumers to purchase new products.
Retailers must acknowledge receipt of customer complaints received through social media channels and assure them that their issues are being dealt with. The synchronous nature of social media heightens consumer expectations of a quick response rate and ideally retailers must try to respond to customers within 15–30 minutes.
Your key questions answered
- How can social media be used effectively for market research, customer service, marketing, sales, and customer engagement?
- How has social media been used by retailers in the grocery, clothing, health & beauty, DIY, entertainment and electricals sector?
- What are the main operational considerations when undertaking a social media campaign? How can I make use of external agencies?
- What type of blogs exist and how have retailers used bloggers and their sites to promote their products and services?
- To what extent do consumers use social media and what are the core portals in terms of registered users? Does this vary by country?
Table of contents
About the series
STRATEGIC ACTION POINTS
Market research and product development
Marketing and public relations
Customer loyalty and engagement
Social media is complex and a rapidly evolving medium
Social media refers to the creation and exchange of content online by Internet users
Membership of social media sites continues to grow
Social media has revolutionized consumers' relationship with the Internet and retailers
Social media sites can be defined in terms of four distinct categories
Retailers can utilize social media to conduct market research and obtain product feedback
Gain insight into the reputation of retailers
Retailers can achieve a deeper understanding of their customer base
Retailers can gain feedback on their latest products and ideas for products in development
Retailers can understand the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns
Retailers can gauge customer sentiment before undertaking "big" decisions
Retailers can deliver enhanced customer service through social media
Retailers can use social media to deal with customer complaints and enquiries rapidly
Retailers can provide product education and establish themselves as industry experts
Social media holds enormous potential for marketing and PR
Social media can be used by retailers to conduct targeted marketing campaigns frequently and cheaply
Retailers can use social networking sites to manage their company's online reputation
Retailers can utilize social media to humanize their brand and create a cohesive brand personality
Social media can be used by retailers to promote products
Social media can be utilized by retailers to sell
Retailers can use Facebook for direct selling
Retailers use social media platforms to link to their own transactional websites
Retailers use social media to encourage social selling
Smartphones enable retailers to use social media to drive store footfall
Social media can deepen customer engagement and loyalty towards a brand
Retailers can also utilize social media to communicate with stakeholders
Social media users must consider their business objectives and target market
Retailers must consider how social media will fulfill their business needs
Retailers must select what type of social media platform they will use
Social media usage is not uniform
The use of blogs raises a number of considerations for retailers
Retailers must decide whether to produce their own social media platform
Retailers must be wary of influential third-party social media platforms
Retailers can engage with social media with varying levels of commitment
Retailers must consider how they will implement their social media strategy
Retailers must decide the nature of the content that will be present on their sites
Social media monitoring raises a lot of considerations for retailers
Social media responsibilities can be outsourced
Retailers using social media must formulate a set of corporate guidelines for its use
Retailers must try to gauge the impact of their social media operations
Summary of key considerations for retailers using the largest social media platforms
Retailers can use Facebook to achieve a myriad of objectives
Twitter offers retailers a channel to rapidly soothe customer complaints
YouTube allows retailers to raise product awareness
STRATEGY IN FOCUS
Retailers have used social media to conduct market research and gain insight to improve products
Dell uses social media to gather consumer insights into products
Best Buy uses social media to gather consumer insights into products
B&Q uses its social platform to improve its private label DIY range
Social media feedback can be particularly advantageous for remote shopping retailers
Retailers have used social media to deliver enhanced customer service
Electrical retailer Best Buy uses Twitter to deliver 24-hour customer assistance
Walgreens uses Facebook to offer a photo developing service
Retailers have used social media to drive customer engagement and loyalty
Lifestyle brand RVCA drives loyalty by using social media to cater to the interests of likeminded customers
Direct selling firm Avon engages consumers by hosting an online social community
B&Q's independent social media platform engages the customer in the long term
Burberry uses a bespoke social media platform to create an engaged brand community
Luxury brand Jimmy Choo uses social media to deepen customers' brand engagement
Waitrose uses YouTube to deliver how-to advice
Retailers have used social media for PR and to create innovative marketing campaigns
Retailers have used viral social media campaigns and competitions to generate substantial coverage
Walmart uses mom bloggers to widen its target audience
Retailers have embraced social media to cultivate their brand image
Oscar de la Renta uses Twitter to sell a lifestyle
Joules makes use of multiple social media outlets to create a lifestyle
Tea Collection uses blogs to create a lifestyle
The Body Shop uses social media to establish its reputation as a charitable organization
Retailers have achieved varying levels of success in translating social media into sales
Online fashion retailer ASOS has launched a retail store on Facebook
Retailers have used a variety of social media platforms to drive online sales
Abercrombie & Fitch drives online sales by displaying products on Facebook
Tea Collection drives online sales by engaging with customers on Facebook
Electrical retailer Dell has utilized micro-blogging to sell refurbished goods
Clothing retailer Uniqlo uses an initiative on Twitter to drive online sales
Luxury retailers have used social media innovatively to drive store sales
Fashion retailer H&M has used YouTube to drive online and store sales
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