In June 2013, Facebook started supporting hash tags, which offered users a new way to track conversations about trending topics. The development also gave retailers a new opportunity to create hash tag campaigns that spanned across three key channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“Within the last year it has become easier for brands and retailers to create cohesive social campaigns,” Wegner said. “You used to have to decide where to push people. Were you going to do a Facebook program, or an Instagram and Twitter program? If it was Facebook, you couldn’t use hash tags.”
Now that hash tags are universal, retailers can use a single tag for several social channels, which makes it easier for consumers to share insights and retailers to collect and track feedback, Wegner added. “You don’t have to make a choice for your shopper anymore.”
Retailers can refer to hash tags and other social feedback to keep a pulse on customer sentiment. By integrating this feedback with CRM data, retailers can create a comprehensive picture of individual customers and their unique shopping journeys.
Retail “Leaders” are more likely to incorporate social media into their CRM initiatives, according to Aberdeen Group research. As many as 40% of business “Leaders” incorporate social media touch points into their CRM and/or customer experience management initiatives, compared to only 26% of “Followers.”
In the report, titled: Social Powers Activate: Engineering Social Engagement To Win The Hidden Sales Cycle, Aberdeen also indicated that progressive organizations leverage “active listening,” which “combines social media monitoring with an infrastructure of action.”
Key capabilities of active listening include:
If a customer references a brand, product or service on social media, a retailer can “then attribute that feedback to a specific customer record in the CRM system,” Minkara explained. Tying social data with different types of account data, such as credit card information, then allows retailers to attribute the customer record in the CRM system with their in-store purchase. By using technology tools such as customer analytics, companies can then map out the entire journey and see what particular activities encouraged buyers to visit their store and contributed to them making a purchase."
Loyalty programs also can help close the loop between social feedback and in-store purchases.
“One of the challenges of social media is that it is somewhat individual agnostic,” noted Bob Heaney, Principal Analyst of the Retail/Wholesale Markets and e-Commerce Practice at Aberdeen Group. “If a shopper goes to a retailer’s Facebook or Pinterest page, the company can get information about his or her general interests and what they’re doing on that site. But unless it’s tied to a loyalty program and a customer is opted in, you don’t have the intelligence into who that person is and you can’t see what they’re doing differently over time. Additionally, if behavior or supplemental activity is initiated via mobile or social devices, retailers may not be able to link the specific device-level activity back to a 360-degree view of an individual consumer across all omnichannel points of engagement.”
retail touch points Written by Alicia Fiorletta, Senior Editor