Why are retailers struggling to get social media right?
According to a new report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), 81 percent of retailers using social media to engage with customers indicate that their processes need improvement.
The report explored five key areas where retailers can use social media to improve the customer journey:
- Experience: Sixty-nine percent of retailers see opportunities to make use of social media to enhance the customer experience. While social media can influence shoppers’ purchase decisions and personalize their shopping experiences, retailers remain uncertain how to best use it, according to BRP’s recent surveys;
- Interaction: Seventy-five percent support customer interaction via social media, but 81 percent of those retailers feel that the current interaction needs improvement. Outside of the direct in-store experience, social media is becoming the preferred customer communication forum, and expectations are high. Customers want responses to questions, feedback and complaints quickly or they feel slighted.
- Endorsement: Fifty-nine percent of retailers plan to utilize brand advocacy/social media endorsement as a source for identifying their most valuable customers within three years. While social media has made it easier to identify brand advocates, retailers are uncertain how to measure brand advocacy and then use that information to boost revenue;
- Satisfaction: Fifty-nine percent of retailers use social media comments as a means of measuring customer satisfaction, yet 45 percent of those claim it needs improvement. Beyond ensuring that brand advocates are happy, understanding satisfaction levels can help retailers refine their message and quickly address any potential dissatisfaction.
- Insights: Sixty percent of retailers capture customer feedback and insights from social media and online comments. However, few “tried and true” tools are available for retailers to use as a guide for social media analytics. According to BRP’s 2015 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey, only 23 percent of retailers currently use social media data product development; 29 percent plan to use it within two years. Only 31 percent have any plans for utilizing social media data in assisting with allocation.
- 81 percent of Retailers Utilizing Social Media for Customer Engagement Indicate their Methods Need Improvement, According to New BRP Report (press release) – Boston Retail Partners
- BRP Special Report – Enhancing Customer Engagement Through Social Media (study) – Boston Retail Partners
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why has the learning curve around social media been so steep for retailers? Of the areas social media touches as part of the customer’s journey, which should be the primary focus for retailers at this point?