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Retailers must embrace social media as part of their omnichannel strategy

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The proliferation of social media and the advance of ‘shopable’ content has been underexploited by the retail sector in Europe as an area of revenue growth according to Tryzens, a digital commerce platform provider.

Retailers must be doing more, not only to engage with consumers via social media sites, but also to develop experiences that enable a consumer to buy from their social channel engagement, taking them seamlessly through to checkout.

With the maturing feature sets of ecommerce platforms, the tools largely exist to enable a retailer to develop the capability to optimise customer experience on the site and drive up conversion rates, average order values and attach rates.

However, to truly succeed, hearts and minds need to be won out in the market before ever hitting the ecommerce site and this can best be done by driving interaction from social media, real-world experience, print advertising and more.

With an estimated 2.3 billion social media users at the start of 2016, the market potential for retailers to capitalise on this ‘new norm’ is huge. Social media platforms are already used to great effect by retailers in the form of communicating with customers and engagement on a more personal level.

This untapped source of revenue could provide an important lifeline to retailers looking to diversify themselves in the market and appeal to consumers who are increasingly short on time to spend browsing retailers web pages.

“Social media is a fantastic resource for retailers, it has already shaped the market in a whole new way, giving retailers a more personal approach to their customers and allowing engagement on a whole new level,” says Andy Burton, CEO, Tryzens.

“More must be done however to broaden the market reach of new functionality from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Snapchat and others in order to give consumers a new way of shopping, wherever they are in the world. By working with social media platforms, retailers can unlock this new potential, made even easier on the smartphone (social media platform of choice) with the advances in simplified payments from Apple Pay, Pay with Amazon and Klarna that all offer unique value and simplified purchasing.

“Many new ways of engaging clients exist through leveraging social media, for example, utilising software that can track the number of likes over certain product ranges, retailers can provide exclusive discounts and tailor-made rewards to frequent social media users, helping to cultivate customers’ social media use and also enhance their overall customer experience,” continued Burton.

Tryzens has identified three core social media themes that should be reviewed by retailers here and now:

Social commerce is a must for growing businesses

There has been notable excitement around the concept of ‘shopable’ content from social media that will lead to greater adoption and implementation of not only social platforms, but also social selling tools. When the battle for conversion has been largely achieved, the key is to grow the right traffic, which means engaging the consumer pre visiting the site.

Making the social commerce experience as easy and seamless as possible is critical to increasing conversions. Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter all currently offer varying levels of in-channel purchasing options and shopping carts. These solutions are not available worldwide yet, but this is only a matter of time if early signs of success are anything to go by.

Video marketing comes to the fore

Video is fast becoming around half of all mobile content this year and you will not be able to ignore it. So retailers need to start small with quick videos on Instagram maybe looking at new arrivals. But from here the door is wide open to live Q&As to event coverage. Already Periscope and Facebook are making it easier than ever to bring retail businesses into the hands of consumers.

Social shopping is the new local shopping

Retailers need to be aware it’s not just about being active on social media for the sake of it, it’s about the online community created which is accomplished by talking directly to consumers. It will mean rethinking your attitude to encouraging hashtag usage, and leveraging images and videos to increase visual conversions.

Andy Burton concludes: “Social media platforms must increasingly respond to customers in real-time. Many customers take to their retailers’ Facebook or Twitter page to ask questions, comment about a new product, or post concerns instead of calling or emailing customer support centres. With that in mind, retailers must continually engage with their customers and maintain a relationship that truly connects and communicates, as well as actively seek out new customers through intelligent and engaging outreach on social media that makes finding and buying a product an easy and positive experience.”

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