Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Retailers use e-mail (79 percent) and their websites (77 percent) to promote their social commerce services to customers, according to the Retail TouchPoints Social Commerce Survey. But only 24 percent of retailers promote their social presence in-store at the point-of-sale (POS).
One retailer pushing the in-store/social connection is Nordstrom, which uses its Pinterest fan base to identify popular products and encourage social engagement. These "most-pinned products" are then promoted in-store with special signage and unique merchandise designs.
"What's great about social media is that it creates a bigger platform for customers to share their experiences with us and with each other," said Dan Evans, business PR director for Nordstrom.
One hurdle appears to be many retailers viewing social media and the store as separate channels addressing different parts of the sales funnel.
"Social media is currently being used as a brand awareness, top-of-the-funnel initiative," noted Pau Sabria, co-founder of Olapic, which helps stores monetize fan photos socially. "And in-store retail is used as an end-of-the-funnel channel, or a sales channel. These are very different approaches and rarely compete with one another."
To ensure that marketing and engagement strategies are relevant, retailers need to clearly identify target customers and their preferred social channels. Merchants also should consider the value of specific social channels. For example, Instagram is a valuable network for retailers to give consumers a "behind-the-scenes" look at their brand, while Twitter is a valuable service channel.
Most importantly, retailers need to determine how they can amplify consumers' shopping behaviors and encourage them to talk more about their experiences throughout the entire brand journey, according to Laura Davis-Taylor, SVP of omnichannel experience at The Integer Group.
"Retailers need to look at before, during and after the purchase and consider their consumers' shopping behaviors," Ms Davis-Taylor explained. However, because consumers continue to hop between channels and devices throughout their browsing and buying journeys, there no longer is a standard path to purchase, she added. Instead retailers "need to create a shopping story."
How actively should retailers be promoting their social media presence and programs at the store level?