Retail TouchPoints: Social Media Search Key Trend for Holiday Shopping
By Amanda Ferrante
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
shoppers have indicated that they’re increasingly tapping social
networks for gift ideas, as 27 percent of holiday shoppers last year used social
networks for clues on what gifts to buy friends and family, according to eMarketer.
Even more online shoppers are expected to tap social networks like Facebook this
year for gift-giving ideas.
"A great way to drive gift purchases this holiday
is to use Facebook and Twitter to launch ‘gift guides’ tied to
Clay McDaniel, principal and co-founder of Spring Creek Group, a social media
strategy and marketing services agency.
Mr. McDaniel encourages retailers to
use social networks as a forum to publish offers with verbiage that includes
calls to action for particular gift purchases, like "Save 10 percent
on Best Gifts for Grandma," or "Find
Dad’s Gift — and Save 20 percent." Participants can be required
to take social action — becoming a follower or fan, retweeting the gift guide
URL, or posting it to their Facebook page — to be eligible for the discount.
Mr. McDaniel added that retailers’ social strategy needs to be an
integrated approach to offering deals to customers. "Retailers need to
go beyond thinking of the social channel as a way to disseminate deals, and
think of them more as an integral shopping tool for their customers, who will
rely on their social networks for gift ideas and recommendations," he
said. "This year,
it’s about encouraging an ongoing conversation around your products and
deals, not just amassing one-off purchases."
Patrick Simon Bouaziz, chief
visionary officer at I Love Velvet, stressed the importance of to differentiating
brands on social media platforms.
"Retailers that are able to connect the in-store experience to their
online presence are well poised to strengthen their bond with their fans and
followers, and increase the level of engagement with the brand," said
Mr. Bouaziz. "This
kind of relationship building should come months before the holiday season,
and could be as basic as holding contests that get socially-connected fans
to actually come into the store to redeem special deals."
VP, Edelman Digital, and author of The Social Customer Manifesto,
agrees that it’s important for retailers not to simply push out "messages," but
rather engage with their fan base.
"Instead of telling fans of the retailer what they ‘should’ be
giving as gifts, ask the fans what they think," said Mr. Carfi. "A
conversation starter such as ‘What are the coolest things and gifts you
are seeing?’ could start a long-running thread on either Facebook, Twitter
or a blog that would actually involve the community, instead of pandering to
it. Then, provide an easy, unobtrusive way to purchase the items that the customers
Discussion Questions: How should retailers be plotting their social media
strategies around holiday selling? How should they be capitalizing on social
media’s search capabilities?