Tuesday, February 17, 2015

CMO: Are you ready to embrace social media apps into your retail space?

Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are no longer mere buzzwords; the customers make their purchase decisions through them. The retail landscape has dramatically changed with the advent of recent technologies and rampant usage of social media. After joining the Integrated Marketing Communications as a graduate student at Medill, Northwestern University, my interest turned towards the amazing impact of the influence of social media on the behavior of the retail consumer. This turned me into a marketing maniac. Here are 2 articles that caught my attention in this area.

A recent article published in Advertising Age by Justin Emig, Search Marketing Manager at Web Talent Marketing, talks about how Snapchat can help retailers kill showroomingThe app is unique because of its feature of instant disappearance after opening the message. When a customer is checking out at the store, they can receive a snap with 10% or 20% discount instead of a scratch and win coupon, or while they are nearing a particular aisle, they could be sent a snap that has a deal or coupon of the products displayed in the aisle. Likewise, to give the feel of a scavenger hunt, customers who are in the store can be sent a snap with a photo of the aisle or location of the limited edition products or new-in-store products. These are ways to increase customer-shopping experience in store by engaging with customers through mobile app.

Additionally, an article on Bloomberg by Kyle Stock titled talks about the importance of Instagram for RetailInstagram is a way forward in the e-commerce space. Engagement on Instagram is 15-20 times more than that on other social media sites. The article gives an example of Michael Kors (MK) brand wherein they have created #InstaKors and will have customers sign up for this program. By doing so, when a customer likes a photo on MK’s Instagram page, they will be sent an email with a link to the product page on the website. This way the customer is redirected to the website and measurement of the social media presence can be tracked. This is advantageous for retail marketers because the likes on social media don’t mean anything to a brand but it is about whether the customer intends to buy it. Through using this feature on Instagram in the future, brands can better track whether customers that do follow them on social media are valuable customers who purchase or intend to purchase.

Based on these 2 articles and my graduate school learnings in Integrated Marketing Communications, here are 3 action items that I recommend you consider as a CMO in the retail industry.
  • Deliver promotions through social media Using social media apps that current generation of tech savvy customers’ regularly depend on, can help retailers catch their attention.
  •  Use contests to increase engagement in stores - To give customers a better retail experience, it is necessary to engage them in store through contests as such treasure hunt or special coupons for the hour, which can be distributed electronically via social media apps.
  • Use more visuals to capture attention - Visuals in the form of a video, photo or info graphic help in catching the attention of people.
When the world is reachable through your palm (using mobile), retailers need to make sure that they effectively reach the same world at a better speed over their competitors. Using the above suggestions, they can get into the palms of the customers and engage with them in store and online by combining the mobile technology and the social media apps for ultimate customer shopping experience.

Jyothsna Durgadoss is currently pursing her Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. She is presently part of the content marketing team at Spiegel Research Center, Northwestern University. Prior to this, she worked as an associate consultant in a multi-disciplinary management-consulting firm in Dubai, specializing in marketing based assignments. In addition to her work experience, out of her personal interest and passion towards marketing, she has spearheaded the multi media promotional campaign for the launch of few books. She was born in India and brought up in Dubai and went on to completing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Warwick Business School, United Kingdom.

Contact Jyothsna through Twitter @JDurgadoss
Email  jyothsnadurgadoss2014@u.northwestern.edu

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