Social Media Unlocks a Door to Free Holiday Market Share

The retail industry has seen the most dramatic changes to its mode of operation since the advent of the internet, and by extension social media. The online marketplace has exploded thanks to pioneering companies like Amazon and eBay and retailers have been forced to adapt to new strategies in a frantic effort to remain relevant. Luckily, retailers have accepted the challenges of the new marketplace and can now compete across all channels once they incorporate or improve upon their social media marketing efforts.

Understanding and Embracing New Marketing Paths

Many retailers have embraced new technologies, but others are understandably tentative when preparing to implement a new social media marketing strategy or make adjustments to an existing one. A recent Hootsuite White Paper cites a McKinsey Global Institute Study that reports 85 percent of consumer and retail operations use social media for marketing. The report stresses the need to incorporate new marketing methods that build on communication efforts aimed at your customers. This “right time, right message” approach gives you the ability to engage your customers at home, on the go, or ideally while they’re actually in your store. This strategy can effectively expand your targeted marketing messaging and reach customers just about anywhere.

Social Media is a Two Way Street

The one thing many retailers don’t understand about social media is that it’s a two-way form of communication. Unlike more established forms of marketing and advertising like print or broadcast, social media lets your customers interact and respond back to you directly. Your customers utilize this form of communication year round, but usage during the holiday season increases exponentially.

A Sprout Social Media White Paper for Q4 2015 reports on the level of customer “talk-back” levels via social media channels, and the results present a unique opportunity for retailers. As of 2014, the retail industry received a 21 percent increase over the previous quarter in the number of inbound messages during the holiday selling season. That translates on average to about 1500 messages for the average retailer. Sadly, most retailers just aren’t able to handle this influx of customer questions and most go unanswered.

Customer Social Media Responses and Expectations

A funny thing about customers is that when they respond to a marketing message with a question, they expect an answer. This scenario plays out across all retailers and offers an incredible opportunity to those willing to address it. The Sprout Paper states that last year retailers only responded to 16.35 percent of all messages received from customers. The numbers are even higher during the holiday season, even when adjusted for the increase in message volume. What if your sales team simply turned their backs on 83 percent of customers who came into your store? While unthinkable in your physical location, this situation is commonplace with your social media customers. Don’t the customers reaching out on social media deserve your attention as well?

Solutions to the Social Media Dilemma

It’s clear that social media offers a great way to reach customers, but it also presents challenges many businesses didn’t anticipate. Revel’s Social Media Integration built out from your Point of Sale delivers solutions to all of your social media concerns. You can target your customers via Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare while staying on top of (and quickly addressing) comments your customers are leaving on Yelp. This feature is especially critical to food trucks or other mobile businesses.

Revel also addresses the biggest challenge to social media marketing; the ability to monitor social media conversations initiated by your customers in real time. With a Revel Point of Sale, you’re notified immediately every time a customer checks in or leaves a comment on social media. You can then address their issues and concerns instantly thereby improving your level of customer service while meeting and exceeding their expectations. This is the path to expanding your customer base and by extension increasing revenue streams. Revel Systems can provide a total social media integration solution that is both cost-effective and expandable as the needs of your business increase over time.