It is now imperative that businesses have an online presence, we can’t ignore the fact that technology & digital media usage is rapidly increasing.
him! Client Director, Tara Benjamin, speaking at the FWD Wholesale conference said “even two or three years ago there was a lot of scepticism about use of technology, but now many are selling significant amounts through their websites, and it is not just sales migrating to the web because there is incremental business too. A lot of customers are looking for a web presence and if businesses don't offer this facility they risk losing these customers to competitors who do. Mobile is the biggest growth area with the 'app' generation expecting computer power and data to be available on hand-held devices.”
The smartphone has had the fastest technology adoption since the television. 51% of shoppers that we spoke to have a smartphone – this has doubled since 2011 & a further 14% said they would be getting one in the next 12 months.
With this has come a whole new way of communicating. How often is the (smart) phone is actually used as a phone…to make calls? It is now more frequently used for emailing, web browsing, & use of apps such as Facebook & Twitter. Our research backs this up - 2/3 of consumers that have smartphone use Facebook & Twitter.
Facebook, a site that was originally created as a ‘closed group’ networking tool for university students, has now become a business platform & serious marketing tool. Consumers trust the opinions of each other more so than ‘brand advertising’ and with Facebook now engaging over 800million users (500 million on Twitter), can you really afford to ignore them?
However, overall technology use by retailers in our industry remains low– over half of the retailers we recently spoke to didn’t have any online (store website, Facebook page, twitter account) presence.
So how can you engage with customers via social media?
Things like news updates, new product launches, promotions, menu suggestions, nutritional & seasonal advice, exclusive online only deals/coupons, discounts for customers who re-tweet promotions, photo sharing, even recruitment opportunities. You can also use the Facebook & Twitter logos on your point of sale & marketing material - not only attract new fans & followers but to also show that you are moving with the times. (Almost 1/5 of customers said that they felt their C-store was not moving with the times).
Set up a page
Include your contact details / opening hours / website address, etc
Make sure you definitely communicate promotions
Engage your customers by launching some competitions & prize give always
Get customer feedback by running some opinion polls
Upload as many great pictures as possible
Social media is a great way to demonstrate your customer service skills – your fans & followers have free reign to comment on your products & services. So rather than deleting any negative feedback – use this to show how you deal with & are at excellent at customer service.
It’s easy to get left behind when it comes to online but social media cannot be ignored. The best way is to start off small & build it up. Tara Benjamin concluded her recent conference presentation by saying “keep your digital strategy simple & focussed will be the key to your success!”.)