Since we’re gearing up for next week’s Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, I thought I’d reach out to someone who has their finger on the pulse of retailers. Zak Stambor, in addition to editing the daily newsletters, covers Social Media for Internet Retailer Magazine. At the Internet Retailer Conference, Zak and the rest of IRM’s editorial staff will be visiting with vendors in the exhibition hall and covering speaker presentations.
In Zak’s most recent article for the June issue of Internet Retailer Magazine, he interviewed retailers about integrating social media with their marketing. It appears that retailers are still trying to wrap their heads around exactly how to use it and more importantly, why. Zak said that the biggest challenge faced by companies is how to measure success. “It’s still up in the air as far as what that number is. It’s not a direct ROI so they look to direct clicks, number of followers and then take a step back to say, ‘what does this mean?’” There’s no magic formula when it comes to picking a platform. Each retailer finds what works for them based on their individual goal. According to Zak, here’s what some retailers are doing with social media:
Levi’s- Levi’s uses Facebook as a fully integrated marketing effort. The company uses consumer feedback to highlight popular styles. They also have created a “Friends Store” on their Levi.com site, allowing shoppers to sign into their Facebook accounts directly through the site. There, they can view merchandise “liked” by their Facebook friends. While it’s difficult to quantify the efforts, giving a voice to the consumer is a clear by-product of the campaign.
VistaPrint Ltd.- As an online retailer without a brick and mortar store, it is important for the print services provider to be able to monitor their online presence. Twitter and Facebook give VistaPrint insight into what their consumers are saying about them. Using a listening platform like Social Mention allows the company to analyze the conversation. VistaPrint also dedicates a member of the customer service team to manage Twitter and Facebook in order to deal with any potential issues.
SitStay.com- This dog supply retailer went after its niche market by using Facebook to create a community of dog lovers. The goal was to build brand awareness without hard selling products. The company would rather focus on creating a connection to its consumers and utilizes social media for this purpose.
Jones Apparel Group, Inc.- Creating buzz around brands is the main reason Jones Apparel Group uses Facebook. It is a medium that can reach many more customers than traditional media. The company worked with a technology firm to create Facebook pop-up stores. Their followers on Facebook are the first to know about promotions or Facebook exclusive items. In this case, name brand recognition already exists so finding new ways to entice consumers is important.
Zak’s article can be found here in its entirety and I thank him for allowing me to highlight some of the important points.