Shoppers to Stores: ‘Personalize’ Social Media

Articles
January 26, 2010

Shoppers to Stores: ‘Personalize’ Social Media

Some may see irony in the growing trend of shoppers using ‘social media’ to connect with brands, stores, business entities and legions of strangers. They know these outlets won’t fill a social vacuum in their lives.

Some may see irony in the growing trend of shoppers using ‘social media’ to connect with brands, stores, business entities and legions of strangers. They know these outlets won’t fill a social vacuum in their lives.

Nevertheless, there’s growing recognition that these outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) build communities of interest that buoy consumer brand and store awareness and ultimately velocity at the retail shelf. Since any help is a big help today, the social media push by major brand makers seems right for the times.

The more brands and stores are able to track online consumer behavior, discussion themes and more through social media, the better they understand their relevance to consumer lifestyles, and the more compelling they can make their offers. Social media looks to us like a smart augment to the syndicated data and limited retail POS data that CPG can currently access, for example. 

New research of 400,000 shoppers by NCR Corporation, released at the National Retail Federation trade show, pinpoints what they want: enhanced personalization and more choices in how they interact with retailers through social media. Specifically, says NCR:

  • Shoppers want personalized experiences with social media. They’re likelier to buy from retailers that recognize them as individuals through social media and incorporate their unique preferences. Give people more interactive choices (online, at the store, social networks, cellular) and customize experiences to engage them.
  • Retailers will do better if they unify offers across social media channels. Shoppers overwhelmingly say they respond to unified social media offers from retailers rather than stand-alone offers. How to execute: Let people identify an item/service of interest on Twitter, see peer recommendations on Facebook, and buy from the retailer’s website – rather than merely offer, say, a coupon on the retailer’s website.
  • Nurture online communities to add credibility. Shoppers want retailers to facilitate the communities of interest, where they also expect to see honest positive and negative feedback.
  • Put domain experts online and respond quickly. Shoppers want fast, knowledgeable support. They also expect retailers to listen to feedback on social media channels and respond quickly to any negative commentary, such as a poor store experience or a bad link online.

“Retailers who present a holistic understanding of their customers and deliver more personalized, relevant offers through social media can open new revenue channels and see a greater return on investment through social media,” says Sundeep Kapur, director, strategic marketing, NCR Corporation.