Trending is Trending

The retail customer footprint is constantly adapting to maximize consumer utility. The era of shopping/strip malls is slowly declining, making way for a growing number of non- brick and mortar channels.

While a traditional mall might house close to 150 stores, sites like WANELO are able to provide consumers with over 12 million products in over 350,000 stores with just a few mouse clicks. However, just saying that you have an online portal is not enough to reach consumers. Businesses must continue to adapt to this growing online landscape and fully embrace the evolution of social media. Trends dominate the retail industry, especially in an arena like fashion. Between emerging styles, and refreshing throwbacks, it can be very hard to forecast what the next big thing will be. Trends are not something a business can change, per say; however, through integrating with social media, retailers can stay up to date with customer satisfaction and brand alignment, giving them the ability to follow and even start trends.
To maximize social media, it must be used as a two way street. It is a powerful tool to communicate back to consumers. With strategic action, a business is able to strengthen its brand, and foster a relationship with its customers that expresses interest in an open dialogue. Consumers are constantly offering their opinions on wants, needs, likes, dislikes of products; a business must pay attention and listen. You can even get a sense of who consumers really are- do they appreciate humor, family values, as well as what else they may take interest in as followers.

There is an immense amount of information that consumers willingly volunteer through social media platforms including Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. Keeping up with the latest trends can become overwhelming for businesses. To help ease the stress of collecting data, companies are investing more into social media analytics, and how the data relates to their business.

Consumers are now looking to social media to aid with purchasing decisions. According to Business Insider, sites like Facebook influence 30% of American women on the professional clothing they buy. Meanwhile, Pinterest influences 22% of them. Retailers can use social media to understand the needs of consumers, categorize buying trends, and thus learn more about their fans. People shopping for electronics may be price sensitive, while people shopping for home goods may not put as a great of an emphasis on price. Businesses can cater their marketing efforts across all channels together with social media to move customers further down the sales funnel to purchasing their goods. By marketing the right product and pricing based on customer priorities, businesses can save on wasted time and dollars of marketing.

Businesses don’t need to solely follow trends; they can also start them. Hashtags have evolved as a common sign-off type language on social media platforms. They essentially start an ongoing, public thread unique to that hashtag. Businesses can use this tool by making social media campaigns largely based in social media hashtags. They can be used for promotions, new product launches, etc. As these hashtags serve as the company’s public message board, they are simultaneously relaying information back to the business regarding who the members of their “message board” are. This helps product managers actively identify who are fans of their products, and who voices negative opinions. This feedback is crucial for future R&D investments. A Tweet, Like, or Share can impact inventory and sales of inventory.  By preparing for the impact that these social media outlets can have, businesses can capitalize during the short time window of sales while providing customers with a pleasant, satisfactory experience.

Timing is important as trends tend to shift quickly, and it is important for businesses to gather social media analytics to market to consumers based on preferences and maximize sales of inventory that retailers have available to them.   As consumers are using the internet and social media to research and aid in purchasing decision, businesses can also use this information to increase sales and brand loyalty. Contact HSO today for more information.


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