Your Retail Company Should be Investing in Social Media

Your Retail Company Should be Investing in Social Media

August 27, 2013

In an ideal world, retailers would know exactly what runs through the minds of customers and customers would be explicit in their preferences.  Who says we’re not on the cusp of that blissful consumer utopia?  With communication through social media outlets on the rise, retailers who utilize these avenues to reach their customer base are witnessing an increase in their sales.  The driving factors here are: direct customer insight through social media, analytics from online consumer behavior, and the adoption of cloud tools to organize customer details.  All of these begin with social media development. Therefore, if you are a retailer and you haven’t made the plunge into the vast ocean of social media, we suggest you do so immediately!

KPMG LLP conducted a 2013 survey on the retail industry that concluded – invest in social media!  The retail economic climate today echoes technology; this climate is in the hands of the customer. Two-thirds of retailers polled nationwide said social media and mobile devices are now a major source of their customer sales.

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“Social media and mobile technology are having a significant impact on retail business as consumers increasingly utilize these channels for shopping, coupons, online promotions, price checks, product comparisons and information,” the 2013 KPMG survey states.  71% of survey respondents believe social media has significantly impacted the growth of their business and a little over 50% indicated mobile/ online shopping/ promotions and coupons have increased sales.

Even more, “brick and mortar” companies are flourishing from the implementation of social media strategy.  With social e-commerce in place, social media has the power to bring customers into a retail store so they can interact with the staff they formed a relationship with over Facebook or Twitter.

Social media strategy is not confined to creating a Facebook Page and putting out a few updates.  It is an intricate craft.  Moving beyond the communication aspect of social media, to really understand the customer, data analytics has the potential to move mountains for the retail industry.  What do your customers want and what will you do to give that to them?  Today, only 12% of business owners attest to high data analytics literacy, as shown in the 2013 KPMG survey.  Organizing this information to best target certain demographics will give retailers a leg up in their business endeavors.

KPMG has sized up the industry and has concluded the following in its 2013 survey results:  “Successful retailers have the ability to manage, interpret, and take action based on their data, and can report on critical KPIs and metrics.  Collecting and leveraging customer information to provide personalized recommendations is an integral component of future success. “

A recent Forbes article identified some facts from a 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report that speak to this rapidly growing industry.

  •  94% of all businesses with marketing departments used social media
  • 85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure
  • 58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period

Social media, even though a fairly new marketing strategy, has grown exponentially and it is safe to say is a benchmark in the state of a business’s profitability.  It’s quickly becoming a question of “when” rather than “if” to implement social media in a business.