The economy, while showing signs of improvement, is not where it should be in terms of growth and job creation. As a result, consumers are tightening their belts and being more careful with how much they spend. However, online deals help smart shoppers research products and find savings undiscovered elsewhere.
Ecommerce is continuing to increase about 17 percent year over year and will likely account for $200 billion in sales in 2012, according to a presentation at the Women’s Wear Daily Digital Forum.
Based on holiday sales from 2011, retailers should be looking to spend more of their budget on Internet promotions and start earlier than they would for retail store campaigns.
It’s important for brands to provide engaging content that encourages social sharing, thus driving sales. According to Nielsen, 90 percent of online shoppers trust recommendations from people they know, while 87 percent spend more online because of recommendations. Clearly, when brands offer special deals that people are likely to share.
It's important to launch sales and deals via social channels that are specifically related to certain aspects of the holiday season.
Make sure you're including "soft sell" keywords in every holiday update. Our research shows, when running a contest or promotional offer on Facebook, "soft sell" keywords like "event" and "win" resonate well with users as opposed to more direct or aggressive terms like "contest," "promotion," "sweepstakes," and "coupon."
Social and digital channels are a powerful way to get consumers to show up in person as well. Create special content and deals for consumers to redeem only in store. A recent survey conducted by Ad Age and Ipsos Observer found that coupons are the No. 1 reason consumers "like" brands on Facebook.
Integrating an authentic social media community with your ecommerce site is a huge benefit if you’re aiming to maximise online sales and customer reach. In fact, it’s a necessity. Not only does it add energy to your online retail environment, in that it allows you to keep your customers informed and permits them to air their opinions; it also acts as a catalyst for word of mouth marketing, perhaps to an even greater degree than physical referrals. Once it gathers momentum, the differentiating function of your online business shifts from being one of basic ecommerce to one of “social commerce” – an amalgamation
Amazon.com, the world’s biggest online distributor of books, electronics, music, DVDs, computers, apparel, shoes and so on, is a fine example of a company that has used Facebook to achieve a perfect blend of interactivity and consumer-orientated communications; the combination of which has resulted in a consistent flow of product updates, special deals, events, suggestions, competitions etc., not to mention conversation-stimulating posts that keeps its followers engaged and excited about all its offerings.
The rise of mobile commerce will change consumer behaviour, observing: "Customers are already checking prices on their mobile in-store to see if products are cheaper elsewhere." Mobile and tablets are going to continue to drive new types of sales opportunity. As smart phones become easier and more sophisticated and tablet become more ubiquitous, companies will need to deploy marketing strategies and supporting technologies to enable those sales.
Mobile platforms like Foursquare can prove to be powerful tools that integrate online and offline. Providing your fans with a deal when they check-in to a retail location can be a truly rewarding experience. This not only increases loyalty, but can potentially turn your fans into advocates for your brand
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