Has Social Media Killed the Mall? Part 1
Has social media killed the mall? The "death of the mall" has been a topic of conversation for some time as e-commerce and social media continue to engage would-be buyers while distracting them from in-store shopping. Trending images of deserted malls and social groups like Dead Mall Enthusiasts have popped up on Facebook. Are the days of brick-and-mortar businesses numbered?
In the 80s and 90s, the mall was the epicenter of teen social life. Trying on new outfits and hunting down bargains with friends was an inherently social experience. The recent surge of social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat is having an impact on retail, however. Consumers find that instantly sharing the new fit of a pair of jeans they bought online will get them hundreds of "likes" in minutes from Facebook friends and Instagram followers. It's almost become more gratifying than stepping out of the dressing room for a reaction from a single friend.
Before jumping to the conclusion that social media and e-commerce have left the mall deserted, it's important to think about what you can leverage from social media listening and interaction. What should retailers and brands be thinking about in order to capitalize on their physical store investments?
Data: Your Secret Weapon and Crystal Ball
Wish you knew exactly what your customers were thinking? They wish you knew too — and they're not afraid to tell you. Those social shares add up to more than likes on your Facebook page. With a combination of knowing the right things to look for and mastering the right way to interpret your data, you can make sure you have the right products in place in your retail store, turning the brick-and-mortar experience into a one-stop shop for your customers’ wish lists.
Social Media is Your Friend, Not Your Foe
Take a page from the big retailers like Nordstrom and use your social media following to identify well-liked products. In 2013, Nordstrom saw that Pinterest represented its largest social community, with 4.5 million followers (vs. only 270,000 Twitter followers at the time). Capitalizing on that reach, Nordstrom began showcasing items in-store with a "Top Pinned Item" sign in order to catch the eye of the frequent online browser.
Greg has a 25-year history in the retail industry with a career spanning merchandising, sales and management. But while at one of the world’s leading supply chain technology firms, he saw a need for retailers and brands to re-engage with consumers to determine which products would be top sellers well before costly investments are made to bring them to market. In 2007, Greg Petro founded First Insight Inc., a technology company that delivers what is now the world’s leading predictive analytics platform for consumer-testing new products. Through engaging consumers online and mining social data, the First Insight platform empowers retailers and brands to introduce the right products at the right price, and target them to the right customers. Today, he serves as its Chief Executive Officer and President. Greg is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as a frequent speaker at the graduate business schools of Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh. Greg also speaks and at a number of industry conferences, where he educates his listeners on how retailers can use technology to identify and deliver what their customers really want. Mr. Petro holds both MBA and Bachelor’s Degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.