Social(izing) During the Holidays
Cross-channel retailers must focus on acquiring more social visitors this holiday season, as their value to brands is undeniable. According to the IBM Coremetrics Fourth Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report, social media users are more than twice as likely than the overall population to convert into customers (10.7 percent vs. 5.2 percent). But the study also revealed that both site visits and sales by social media visitors accounted for less than 2 percent of each category's total from October 2010 to April 2011, although those figures did rise incrementally over the six months. While social visitors (Facebook fans, Twitter followers) have an affinity for your brand and are more likely to purchase from it, they still represent a small percentage of most retailers' customers.
Here are a couple of retailers that found success last holiday season using social media as a sales and customer acquisition driver, as well as a sneak peek into what they have in mind for this year's holidays.
Check-Ins Drive In-Store Traffic, Sales
Cross-channel electronics retailer RadioShack and Foursquare partnered last holiday season for a promotion that offered discounts to consumers who checked in with the location-based social networking site from one of RadioShack's 4,500-plus retail stores. Consumers received 10 percent off for every store check-in, 15 percent off for store "mayors" and 20 percent off for unlocking RadioShack's "Holiday Heroes" badge.
"Our original objectives for activating Foursquare were threefold," says Adrian Parker, social media director at RadioShack. "One, increase awareness of RadioShack in the wireless and mobile space. Two, test, learn and understand an emerging platform that's endemic to our brand. We've sold over 72 million cell phones, so we should have a stake in using the phone to communicate with our customers. Lastly was the idea of reciprocity — giving consumers something in return for checking in and purchasing. We saw it as a way for Foursquare users to rediscover RadioShack … incentivize them with an offer that's compelling and then try to close that sale."
Analytics revealed that those objectives were met. Up to 80 percent of the RadioShack Foursquare users were trying the site for the first time, indicating to the retailer that Foursquare was a viable channel for getting incremental shoppers into its stores. The majority of the transactions attributed to the Foursquare promotion were for wireless devices, helping RadioShack capture a larger market share of the profitable tech-savvy consumer demographic. To that point, customers driven to RadioShack via Foursquare spent, on average, 3.5 times more than non-Foursquare customers.