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Social media in all its forms plays an ever-larger role in customers’ lives and advertisers are spending more on it, so it’s now past the time when retailers need to have thought through how to integrate it into their businesses.
Social media is a powerful way to engage shoppers, especially at the store level, and the door is wide open for social shopping for food. It isn’t easy to measure the return on investment, but that shouldn’t be confused with the need understand how it impacts the business.
What we see
A recent Duke University study found that most CMOs are increasing spending on social media, but only a small percentage have been able to document the benefits. This shows that most businesses are in the “test and learn” phase with social media.
While test and learn is happening at the specialist level among many food retailers, there’s less progress in the executive suite. Senior executives are definitely aware of social media, but they are not yet clear about what steps they should take to use it to strengthen their position in today’s very competitive market. Blueocean Market Intelligence studied online data from the top 100 US retailers during the last quarter of 2013, and they offer these five trends for 2014:
- The traditional shopping experience is evolving as more consumers move online, giving retailers more options for how and where they engage their customers
- Pinterest will emerge as a stronger alternative to Facebook and Twitter, especially as a driver of purchases.
- Successful retailers will use omnichannel communications to create a more a seamless experience with consistent communications across all platforms, including social media.
- Content marketing will become more dependent on social media to drive engagement and will shift from text to more be more visual (more videos and pictures).
- Social shopping will become a reality for more shoppers and will not just occur on independent platforms, but will be integrated into social platforms i.e. customers will be able to buy with a quick click, share, or tweet.
For more information on these trends, see this ChainStoreAge post.
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