Digital Marketing Strategy

Retailers: Use Social Media to Engage Shoppers First, Then Focus on Selling

At the recent annual National Retail Federation convention, many marketers were left wrapping their heads around “Showrooming”, its impact on sales at on brick and mortar stores, and how-to compete with the likes of amazon.com and other online retailers. Showrooming is when a customer goes into a store to ‘test’ a product only to purchase it online at a lower price.

Personally, I’m a Millennial shopper but I don’t like to buy items online that I would normally purchase in a store such as clothing, a new pair of shoes, or a TV. You can say I’m “old school” but like many consumers, I use the internet to research prices across multiple retailers and read product reviews. If I’m looking to buy a suit, I will go to JosABank.com, browse their online inventory, and then go to their store and purchase.  The internet is a great hub for information and communication but it hasn’t replaced face-to-face customer service.
While showrooming, and lower online prices, is causing a ripple in the retail ecosystem there’s a lot that you can be doing right now to turn online window-shoppers into converted customers. Brands can apply these three social media tips in 2014 to stay relevant and top of mind in between shops:

Be relevant.

While most of your customers won’t purchase from you everyday, they will have a need at some point. The key for brands is to remain top of mind so that when the need arises to buy a new TV, computer, car, or even a pair of sneakers they will think about your brand first. FinishLine does a great job keeping my email inbox loaded with coupons and a lot of value. Also, with tax season around the corner, now’s the time of year when consumers are in the market for that vacation or big ticket item. It’s also a big time of year for home improvement,  a great example of staying connected to their community is Home Depot with daily tips.

Post by The Home Depot.

Add value.

Don’t hard sale your community but incentivize to buy from you (wether in person or online) through free shipping, competitor price matching, and enough value to make them genuinely interested. Most retailers today accept online coupons or will even price match a competitors online price, for example: Kohl’s and Best Buy will match competitor and online prices plus offer free shipping if the item is out of stock.

Stay Connected.

Use Pinterest to keep your social community up-to-date with the seasons hottest items. From purses, to winter fashion, to women’s apparel, Nordstrom does a suburb job keeping it’s 4.4 million followers on Pinterest “in the know” and connected year round. From Nordstrom’s Pinterest boards you can even click-through to nordstrom.com and purchase the item directly.
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