Retailers have been using social media to their benefit. It seems, however, as if they took this path not because they could lure more people to them but because that’s where the people were already. Not exactly cutting edge thinking (since reacting to a situation rather than creating a need is less desirable) but it is what it is.
eMarketer reports on a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group that gives some insight into retailers and their use of social media. First, a look at why they are there in the first place.
I’m not sure why this seems backwards but it does to me. The way that the industry reports the evolution of social media in the retail space, it would seem as if innovators were creating great places for social networkers to go and share their ‘find’. It looks like the other way around though according to these findings since retailers had to react to the changing habits of customers and follow them to where they were going.
Less than ideal but that’s the way it happens more often than not in business: react to the change rather than create the new need and inspire the change.
As for social media KPIs (key performance indicators) there is a mix of the qualitative and quantitative elements although true conversion (a sale) isn’t on the list.
So what conclusions can we draw from these findings? Hard to tell since not every retailer has the same profile with regard to their own internal structure and capabilities around social media and just how social media savvy their customers are.
One thing for sure though is that retailers can be led around on a leash by their customers, which is a dangerous place to be because the customer doesn’t always have the retailers best interest in mind.