With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just round the corner, how should retailers utilize social media to prepare for America’s biggest shopping event?
After a huge Thanksgiving family gathering, the next thing on the agenda for most people is to get all the bargain presents in time for the Holidays.
Retailers put a lot of time and effort into preparing their marketing campaigns weeks in advance – from print to digital and mobile – to create a buzz around their deals. This is the largest and most important shopping weekend of the year for America. Many stores, including Wal-Mart, have gone to extreme measures to beat their competitors by opening their doors on the night of Thanksgiving, kicking of their deals at least 8 hours before anyone else.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales accounted for 20% of total retail sales last year, a figure that is set to rise considerably this time around. With more interest in the shopping event and even more people now using mobile devices to tweet in-store what should retailers do to keep the holiday spirit alive, in-store and online, for all the eager shoppers?
Be there with news
Using social media for customer service played a pivotal role in the holiday season sales last year – 66% of Black Friday / Cyber Monday purchases were made as a result of social media interactions. Shoppers during the holiday season are keen to find the latest and best offers on the high street, willing to go that extra mile to ensure they get the best savings. And this is even easier online - customers will be eagerly scouring the web for Black Friday and Cyber Monday news. Use Twitter to let your customers know in real-time about all your promotions and all your latest price slashes – whether it is special offers in-store on Black Friday weekend or free delivery during Cyber Monday – making it more convenient for shoppers to find the best deals online and in-store. Use appropriate hashtags to ensure your deals and offers are part of a trending topic stream so no one misses out – reaching more people than just your followers. The more you share news on social networks, the greater chance you have of this spreading to even more friends and followers. Last year, 42% of shoppers discovered a deal through social networks, up by 9% from the previous year, with 86% of shoppers making or receiving a gift recommendation.
Be there with Customer Service
With 5.1% of total holiday sales expected to be influenced by shoppers on their smartphone, there’s a great deal of attention on your performance. Have your team in place to close the gap between browsing and buying, making sure customer expectations are met, and every sale counts. Make sure you have a trained team ready to deliver stellar customer service to the high volume of social media messages coming in during this manic shopping season. Stats from 2011’s Black Friday showed that 80% of customers made a purchase after receiving a direct response from a brand over social media. The number of social messages coming at retailers is set to rise this year as a direct result of the growth we have seen in in-store tweeting. Many stores now offer free WiFi in-store, inviting customers to get in contact, merging the line between physical and virtual shopping experiences. 48% of surveyed shopperswill make social media part of their holiday shopping process, largely for research - will you be there while they scout out information? No matter what time of the year it is or how busy, your customers still expect a response, and a quick one.
How much does interaction with a retailer on social networks influence your shopping trip? Would you be put off making a purchase if you were ignored on social networks?