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Building A Retail Social Brand 2012


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The complete 'Building A Retail Social Brand' whitepaper. This publication explores content across the three key phases of the consumer decision journey:

1) Initial Consideration – Trigger
2) Active Evaluation – Information Gathering, Shopping and Buying
3) Post Purchase Experience and Advocacy

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Building A Retail Social Brand 2012

  1. 1. BUILDING A RETAIL SOCIAL BRAND What you need to know as you plan for 2013 30 case studies 12 vital questions to pose to your business 14 retail brands benchmarked 15 trends identified By Julius Duncan – Marketing Director | Headstream and Tom Chapman – Head of Innovation | Lawton Communications Group www . h eadstrea m . co m | j ul y 2 0 1 2
  2. 2. contents Executive Summary Retail sector background Retail sector – Social Brands 100 insights Retail sector – Current challenges and case studies Retail sector – Future of social media Conclusion and getting started How can Headstream help? Sources 3 5 7 11 21 26 27 29 C ontents www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2
  3. 3. 1 • Executive Summary This white paper has been created by Headstream to assist retail sector marketers as they plan their strategies and budgets for 2013. It provides timely information, case studies, insights, trend predictions, and practical advice to assist retail brands as they consider how social media can support their business goals. The paper has five main sections: • an overview of the broader backdrop within the retail sector, • what we can learn about the current social media performance of retail brands from Headstream’s 2012 Social Brands 100 ranking, • current consumer behaviour and case studies illustrating how retail brands are responding to the challenges and opportunities presented by social media, • five future trends that the retail sector should be aware of and planning for, and • conclusions and how to ‘Get Started’ with the planning process. Look out for our ‘Key Questions’ sections throughout. These summarise the questions marketing teams should pose as they integrate social into their strategy, and how Headstream can help. The summary below identifies the key findings and insights from the white paper. • Retailers are facing challenging trading conditions as the global economic downturn continues to effect consumer confidence • Consumers seeking value and convenience are increasingly likely to seek information, compare product and prices, and then purchase online • Retail brands can improve their engagement with consumers by using rich-formats such as video and photography • The customer journey has moved on from the traditional, linear ‘funnel model’, to a more complex ‘customer decision journey’ where consumers are influenced by multiple touch points. Digital, and particularly social media, has driven this change • Rather than focus purely on the awareness phase, consideration now needs to be given to the whole customer journey, ensuring that everything from information gathering, to post-purchase experiences and support are of consideration • Consumers are increasingly focused on reviews and recommendations driven by social media, leading to savvy brands increasingly curating user e x e c u t i v e s u m m a r y www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 3 Consumers are increasingly focused on reviews and recommendations driven by social media.
  4. 4. content rather than pushing brand messages • The ability to join social conversations at the right moment, and/or facilitate conversations by listening to questions and providing contextually relevant information is growing in importance as a differentiator • As the data that consumers can access from physical objects increases (the internet of things), retailers need to consider how they can marry their physical and digital properties, and not treat their physical and online stores as two separate business units e x e c u t i v e s u m m a r y www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 4
  5. 5. 2 • Retail sector background The squeeze on consumer spending created by rising unemployment and inflationary pressures, has pushed many retailers over the edge. Between 2008, the start of the global downturn, and June 2012, 183 UK retail companies entered administration, affecting 18,795 stores. (Source: Centre for Retail Research) With the squeeze on consumer spending set to continue, the emphasis for the retail sector is to constantly innovate and create strategies that bring competitive advantage. According to Euromonitor International, the big industry challenges for 2012 are; dealing with the ongoing economic squeeze, seeking growth in emerging markets, and understanding the trend for increasing numbers of Internet purchases (e-commerce). Consumer confidence varies from territory to territory. For example, Brazil saw retail sales grow by 34.99% between 2006 and 2011, China 48.89% and India 18%. Over the same period, retail sales fell 33.33% in Greece, 14.83% in Spain, 5.63% in the USA and 3.1% in the UK. Even Germany, considered the European economy most insulated from the global slump, saw a decline of 0.66%. (Source: Euromonitor) For international operators one strategic option is to increase presence in, or enter, faster growing geographic markets. However, for those without an international footprint it is the shift to e-commerce that provides the most significant opportunity, or for bricks and mortar chains without a strong online strategy, a threat. Taking the U.S. as a mature market example, e-commerce grew at double digit rates for six consecutive quarters to the end of Q1 2012, bucking the overall retail trend. U.S. e-commerce spend in 2011 was $161.5bln, 13% higher than in 2010. (Source: comScore) retail sector bac k ground www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 5 With the squeeze on consumer spending set to continue, the emphasis for the retail sector is to constantly innovate and create strategies that bring competitive advantage.
  6. 6. Consumers turn to e-commerce for two main reasons, price and convenience, with price particularly important in the current marketplace. This, combined with rising penetration rates of smartphones and tablets, is expected to make the shift to e-commerce a higher priority for all retailers in 2013 and beyond. In addition the line between e-commerce and physical world shopping is blurring as internet devices end up in the hands of more and more shoppers. Smartphones and tablets are playing an ever more significant role in all shopping, with consumers increasingly using smartphones to check prices and product features while physically in-store, and the customer’s social networks are critical within that. According to a global survey by IBM, up to 84% of consumers rely on their social networks when researching new products, and when buying online, shoppers coming from a social network convert at 2x the rate of other non- social network channels. Therefore, a retailer’s customer strategy should consider the crucial role digital and social media play in the purchase decision-making process, across both e-commerce and in-store. retail sector bac k ground www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 6
  7. 7. 3 • Retail sector – Social Brands 100 insights In order to understand how retail brands are currently performing in social media relative to other sectors, we have taken an in-depth look into the retail results from Headstream’s Social Brands 100 report. Social Brands 100 is a global ranking of those brands that are leading the way in social media. Brands do not pay, or apply, to be considered in the ranking. The only way to participate is through a crowd-sourced nomination process on Twitter that establishes a long-list of brands. Analysing the intensity of interactions between these brands and individuals on social and digital platforms, and giving each one a Data Score then establishes a shortlist of 100 brands. The final ranking from one to one hundred is then established by adding a score for each brand from an expert panel of judges. The following section outlines the retail sector’s performance by aggregating the Data Score from the fourteen retail brands that were nominated for the long-list (including the seven brands that went forward to appear in the final Social Brands 100). SB100 ranked retail brands There was a strong representation from retail brands in this year’s Social Brands 100. The ranked retailers were: ASOS (#7) Schuh (#40) TOMS (#49) Sainsbury’s (#50) B&Q (#53) HMV (#75) (#78) Frugi (#91) * The sectors featuring in the SB100 are – Automotive, Charity, Entertainment, Fashion & Beauty, Financial Services, FMCG, Manufactured Goods, Media, Retail, Services, Technology, Telecoms, Travel & Leisure. The Social Brands 100 analysed the social performance of over 300 brands in the period from January to March 2012. The full methodology can be found here ( methodology-in-detail/) and the report can be downloaded here (http://www. r e t a i l se c t o r – s o c i a l b r a n d s 1 0 0 i n s i g h t s www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 7 For the full SB100 report:
  8. 8. facebook Retail companies’ average performance score was strong on Facebook, only the Services sector performed better on average. Against the important measure of how well retail brands respond to fan posts, the sector was third out of thirteen sectors, demonstrating a good approach to listening and responding. Looking at areas for improvement, the weakest measure for the retail sector was ‘Brand Post Engagement’, which measures the intensity of response from the community when brands post content. Here, Retail was beaten by Travel and Leisure, Media, Manufactured Goods, FMCG, Entertainment and Charity sectors. Our wider analysis indicates that this score could be improved by the introduction of more photo and video content on retail brands’ Facebook pages. Our research has shown that on Facebook, photos are most likely to generate comments from the community, and video most likely to promote shares. The charts below indicate that the Retail sector is falling behind the overall Social Brands 100 averages for video content posted on Facebook. While Retail sector photo posts are above average, there is still the opportunity to increase this type of post, as other sectors e.g. Charity have done successfully. r e t a i l se c t o r – s o c i a l b r a n d s 1 0 0 i n s i g h t s www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 8 Chart 1: Facebook posts by type - all social brands Chart 2: Facebook posts by type – retail sector Social Brands 100 Looking at areas of improvement, the weakest measure for the retail sector was ‘Brand Post Engagement’. Video 8% Link 9% Photo 10% Status 73% Video 1% Link 15% Photo 15% Status 69%
  9. 9. youtube Overall, retail brands were the worst performing of any sector on YouTube, scoring less than half the points of the top-ranked sector, Automotive. This performance suggests retail brands are falling behind in terms of quality of video content generated, and the interaction that creates. Considering the nature of the sector and the visual and interactive content potentially available this is a missed opportunity. twitter The retail sector is above average overall on Twitter, coming fourth out of thirteen sectors, behind Media, Services and FMCG. This was driven by strong performances for average number of Retweets, indicating that content is striking a chord with followers. The sector also scored high for Timeliness of Response, indicating adequate community management. However, these performances were counter balanced by a lower than average score for overall reach of @brand account mentions, eighth out of 13 sectors, suggesting conversation rates are not as intensive as in other sectors. Google+ The retail sector has been slow to create engagement on Google+ and scored well below average compared to other sectors, coming in tenth out of thirteen sectors and lagging behind top performers by 75%. As with YouTube, the inherently social nature of shopping should make retail a strong performer on Google+. In the hyper-competitive marketplace for retail, this is also a missed opportunity to improve search visibility by generating +1’s and social content. foursquare With the natural geo-location opportunities provided by physical store locations (for our bricks and clicks chains at least) this might be expected to be a strong area of performance. However, the retail sector came below the Entertainment, Technology, and Travel & Leisure sectors. r e t a i l se c t o r – s o c i a l b r a n d s 1 0 0 i n s i g h t s www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 9
  10. 10. summary Overall, the Retail sector ranked seventh out of thirteen sectors, a mid-table performance. So how can it improve? A focus on stronger video content across the board and use of YouTube as a platform to connect with consumers would lift the 2012 performance. Whilst Facebook is an area of relative strength, optimising post types, with a particular focus on video, could improve this even further. As a whole the sector is not an early adopter of new platforms such as Google+, which also lets down retail’s overall performance compared to competitors for share of the consumer’s wallet, such a Travel and Leisure and Entertainment. KEY QUESTIONS • What proportion of your content created for Facebook is video or photography based? • Do you have monitoring in place to assess what content receives the highest level of interaction? • What is your strategy for Google+, and how is it differentiated from other platforms? • Are you able to benchmark social performance regularly, and use this knowledge to optimise activity? HOW HEADSTREAM CAN HELP • Providing regular social media performance benchmarking using the Social Brands 100 methodology • Audits and social analytics • Content, channel and community strategies and execution r e t a i l se c t o r – s o c i a l b r a n d s 1 0 0 i n s i g h t s www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 0 As a whole the sector is not an early adopter of new platforms. ? !
  11. 11. 4 • Retail sector – CURRENT CHALLENGES AND CASE STUDIES To put the current challenges for retail brands in context we have examined two areas: • the changes in the way that consumers make buying decisions, created by the influence of the social web, and, • the trends and case studies demonstrating current best practice, and an effective response to these changes. how retail brands are evolving to use social media within the consumer decision journey In classic marketing, the customer acquisition process is thought of as a purchase funnel. You dumped cold prospects at the top of the funnel through awareness campaigns and squeezed them down the funnel via qualifying actions e.g. product brochures, sales calls, product demonstrations, and emails. Those prospects that were hot for your product went on to purchase becoming a customer and were then added to the CRM database. If the process was successful, marketers placed it on a rinse and repeat cycle. It was relatively straightforward. Unfortunately the purchase funnel no longer applies. In today’s world, media fragmentation and the proliferation of digital has resulted in an increase in the number of brands under consideration for consumers. As a result, the entire purchasing cycle has shifted. To respond to this shift, the funnel has been replaced by what McKinsey have termed the ‘consumer decision journey’. retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 1 In today’s world, media fragmentation and the proliferation of digital has resulted in an increase in the number of brands under consideration for consumers. Source: Consumer Decision Journey. McKinsey Solution 2010. AWARENESS FAMILIARITY CONSIDERATION PURCHASE LOYALTY THEN: THE PURCHASE FUNNEL NOW: THE CONSUMER DECISION JOURNEY EVALUATE COMMIT EXPERIENCE INTEREST TRIGGER DECISION TRIGGER CONSIDER BUY
  12. 12. The consumer decision journey as illustrated on page 11 is largely influenced by digital - more specifically the social web, underpinned by social media. Social media has fundamentally affected the retail purchasing landscape and buying behaviour, as consumers look toward reviews and recommendations rather than brand’s own messages. In response to these changes, successful retail brands have re-aligned their marketing to adapt to the new consumer decision journey. Brands are frequently using social media to create more targeted, personal shopping experiences, not only to remain competitive in the marketplace, but also to ensure they are delivering the right experiences at the right time for consumers. We have examined the social media marketing communication activity of retail brands globally over the past 12 months. To provide structure to the retail social media activity explored, we have segmented the examples featured into three key phases of the consumer decision journey: • Initial consideration – Trigger • Active evaluation – Information gathering, shopping and buying • Post purchase experience and advocacy retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 2
  13. 13. Initial Consideration - Trigger Savvy retail brands are looking at ever more creative ways to start the conversation with potential customers via engaging content that delivers value in the form of information and entertainment. The following examples feature approaches by marketers to achieve cut through and encourage consumers to consider their brand’s products over competitors. curated content Retail brands are frequently coming up with new ways to promote their products by curating existing content with the support of influencers as opposed to relying on brand created marketing messages. • Tapping into the interest graph and the growing popularity of the Pinterest social network, Furniture retailer IKEA showcased their 2012 Indian Collection ‘True Blue’ ( ikea-family/), helping home decorators to find and share (re-pin) content in an attempt to increase earned media. • Fashion brand GAP collaborated with six high profile bloggers to curate their 2012 spring collection as part of their ‘Be Bright’ campaign. The ( collaboration saw the six bloggers style unique looks from the range and host these on their own sites increasing reach for GAP’s campaign. • Organic food retailer Whole Foods hosted a number of wine tasting Twitter Tweetups. Tweetups for example featured six wines, with Whole Foods providing tasting notes and information about the winemakers and vineyards facilitated by a dedicated Twitter chat room #WFMwines ( transparency and storytelling Moving away from promoting value pricing and new product lines, retail brands are looking at creative ways of increasing brand awareness amongst the more informed consumer through implementing storytelling techniques with a focus on transparency. • As part of McDonald’s marketing strategy, the food retailer focussed on telling the stories of their ingredients’ origins. They produced a series of videos on their YouTube channel featuring beef (http://youtu. be/8sjPnAYwdNI), potato (, lettuce (http:// and packaging suppliers to show their green credentials and open up the brand’s supply chain to its customers. • Whole Foods similarly produced video content for their blog ‘Supplier Stories’ ( ) featuring the organic food suppliers they stock within their stores. retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 3 casestudiescasestudies
  14. 14. active evaluation - information gathering, shopping and buying Consumer-driven marketing (e.g. Internet reviews, word-of-mouth, recommendations from friends and family, in-store interactions and recollections of past experiences) at the active evaluation stage is more important than ever. Consumers have increased control of this process, actively pulling and pushing content in the form of information to help themselves and others in the decision making process. To ensure retail brands do not miss out, marketers are looking to influence the consumer-driven touch points by joining the conversation at the right moment, and/or facilitating conversations by listening to questions and providing contextually relevant information at the right time. product scanning With the ubiquity of cameras on mobiles phones and 3G connectivity providing access to the web, comparison shopping and information gathering on the go has increased. Taking the functionality of smart phones and developing apps to facilitate this process further is a smart move for retailers when consumers are in information gathering mode. More and more retailers such as House of Fraser ( fraser-targets-christmas-shoppers-with-o2-mobile-marketing-campaign ) are now ensuring that wi-fi is available in-stores so that customers can carry out price comparisons easily, as well as having access to their mobile sites for full inventory. • Barcode scanning apps have been around for a couple of years now, but they primarily link to price based information. OpenLabel ( ) is a barcode scanning app with its focus on augmenting bar codes with crowd sourced information; everything from reviews and ratings to the green credentials of a company can exist virtually alongside a scanned product. Brands themselves will need to consider having a presence on this and similar platforms to manage their reputation. • US department store Macy’s Backstage Pass QR code program ‘Find Your Magic’ (http:// ) included branded entertainment featuring talent that consumers retrieved by scanning codes alongside products in-store. The goal was not only to advance the in-store experience, but also to encourage consumers to pull all the content together, helping them to understand and navigate seasonal trends. retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 4 casestudies
  15. 15. • Tesco via augmented reality encouraged users to scan posters in shop windows to view a showcase of their F&F range on the catwalk (http:// new-augmented-reality-ad-campaign-soon-to-be-found-in-a-metro-store- near-you/). Extending this further, a F&F pop-up store allowed shoppers to try on clothes that could be purchased directly by scanning a QR code. • More and more retailers are experimenting with pop-up shopping walls following the success of Tesco’s Homeplus Subway experiment in Korea ( builds-virtual-shops-for-Korean-commuters.html). Virtual store walls appear in locations such as bus and train stations, where consumers can order products and share product information amongst their social network direct from the wall, simply by scanning QR codes. try before you buy Rapid developments in technology such as high speed broadband, 3D and augmented reality have been a real enabler of the ‘try before you buy’ trend. • Tesco in spring 2012 launched a 3D virtual fitting room (http:// fittingroom/) for its F&F brand on its Clothing at Tesco Facebook page. Customers can enter their measurements, upload a photo of their face, and the F&F application creates a 3D virtual body. Consumers can then try on virtual outfits and share items with their friends. • Swarovski ( %E2%80%98be-amazing%E2%80%99-campaign-goes-virtual-total- immersions-augmented-reality ) used total immersion Augmented Reality on Facebook to introduce its Amazing sunglasses range on a global scale. Fans could participate in their own music video whilst trying on the sunglasses and share the video both with friends and the Swarovski YouTube channel. personal shopping Social shopping is everywhere in terms of customer reviews, but there is nothing more satisfying than having an expert consult you via a personal shopping experience. By combining the two it makes the information gathering process for products both productive and valuable resulting in your own personal shopping network. • Online retailer Modcloth feature ‘ModStylists’ ( modstylists), a team of stylists who carry out one-to-one style consultations for free via Facebook. Stylists curate Polyvore outfit sets that consumers can then share via Facebook to get feedback from their social graph. retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 5 casestudiescasestudiescasestudies
  16. 16. • Online clothes retailer ASOS ( Advice/Cat/pgehtml.aspx?cid=14594 ) hosted Free Style sessions via Skype for the Spring Summer 2012 season. Places were limited, but consumers could follow key information discussed in the session via Twitter using the hashtag #stylesos. • Luxury department store Neiman Marcus developed a personal shopping mobile app ‘NMService’ ( neiman-marcus-tests-personal-shopping-assistant-app) allowing customers to gather more information about products by communicating directly with sales assistants. When the user walked in-store it alerted the consumer via app where the sales assistant was in the store at that moment. Customers could also use the app to mark products that they like, and scan QR codes to retrieve more information. location-based messaging and services Location based messaging and services are growing in popularity as we see more in-store shoppers pulling out their phones to read online reviews, compare prices or search for coupons and promotions. This ‘on-the-go’ audience demand locally relevant information, therefore retail brands are coming up with creative ways to target consumers with contextually relevant information in and around their physical locations. • The most common form of location-based marketing activity by retail brands is the check-in treasure hunt. Started by Jimmy Choo with its ‘Catch-a-Choo’ ( ) campaign in 2011, consumers could follow a pair of trainers on Foursquare with a chance of winning the shoes if they caught them in time at the specific location. • Retailer Neiman Marcus produced a similar campaign in the form of ‘Clutch me if you can’ ( clutch) whereby consumers had to check-in to a store for a chance to find a free handbag. interactive technology With natural user interfaces such as voice, touch and gesture recognition becoming ubiquitous in smart phones, tablets and gaming devices; consumers are becoming more comfortable with interactive technology and thus more receptive to innovative ways of experiencing and browsing products in-store. • Interactive virtual product display walls such as the Adidas ‘Adiverse’ ( footwear-wall/s/146bdaf5-2c8e-4bfc-beff-978568c02243 ) are digital displays for in-store product browsing. Many retailers are installing multi- touch screens to browse product catalogues, retrieve more detail and share content across social networks. retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 6 casestudiescasestudiescasestudies
  17. 17. • Perch Interactive ( ) is currently redesigning the in-store display via interactive projections that surround products with customer reviews, tweets, available sizes and colours as well as video content allowing the user to visualise the product in different environments. social gifting Born out of learnings from the deal-of-the-day business models, the latest trend amongst retail start-ups and social savvy consumers is social gifting. • Facebook has fuelled this trend further by purchasing gifting app Karma ( Karma lets you buy and send gifts to friends and family directly from your iPhone or Android smart phone. Gift recipients can then exchange that gift for other items from the same vendor, or choose to donate the money used to a charity. • Another example is Wrapp ( - an app for smart phones and tablets that allows Facebook friends to buy each other gift cards from retailers either individually or by teaming up. They can store gift cards on their mobile devices and redeem in-store. Retailers are working with Wrapp directly as there is limited marketing cost, and they can tap into the social graph of consumers. • Clingle ( is a gifting app that focuses on location. Clingle has the ability to send location-based gift cards. For example you are in a Starbucks, or even seated in the comfort of your home, you buy and leave a gift card for your Clingle or Facebook friends at that location which they can check-in, collect and redeem. post purchase experience and advocacy Once a product purchase has been made, the post purchase experience kicks in, and brands need to ensure they are supporting the consumer on a continuous journey. More often than not, following a purchase it is not uncommon for consumers to use social media such as forums and social networks to share and validate their recent purchases. Marketers are looking to join the conversation at this stage rather than starting or ignoring them. Providing an after-sales experience that inspires loyalty, repeat purchases and keeps competitor products/services at bay is key. This brand presence should not be limited to online, but consideration should be given to blending the social web and physical world together to create new experiences. retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 7 casestudiescasestudies
  18. 18. customer service There are always opportunities for retailers to improve customer satisfaction. With social media, retailers can succeed more easily with open and responsive communications. Numerous brands have turned to Twitter to ensure they are present, answering and responding to customer queries. Brands that experiment in more creative ways to provide customer service have increased their unique service points edging themselves in front of competitors. • Sandwich Shop ‘Nom Nom’ (, uses Facebook and Twitter to allow customers to pre-order food and drink. Customer feedback is rewarded by a loyalty scheme entitling them to special offers. • Start up Needle ( pays fans of products to handle customer service and sales on behalf of retailers via forums and online chat rather than call centres. As a result, true advocates of a product can support those who have recently purchased a product, or support those consumers in the consideration phase. social and interest graph validation Sharing a purchase immediately to receive validation via friends is commonplace amongst a younger generation seeking approval from peers. This validation process is not only limited to the active evaluation stage in the consumer consideration journey. Being able to show off a purchase to both your immediate social graph and interest graph achieves a more varied and deeper validation. • Applications WhatIWearToday ( and Tagbrand ( encourage users to take photos of branded clothes they are wearing and tag them. Each tag has a Twitter and Facebook button to encourage sharing of content via social networks allowing virality of photos and brands via the social graph. Retailers can provide the Tagbrand app with a price-list for the exact items to encourage the interest graph to find and purchase the products. retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 8 casestudiescasestudies
  19. 19. new product launch RSVPs The line-up, camp out, festival experience for product launch days outside flagship stores have in the past led to stampedes, riots and health and safety problems for retailers. To eliminate the large queues outside retail outlets, brands are looking at ways to encourage consumers to RSVP via social channels. • Nike ( system-for-high-demand-releases/) has put in place a Twitter RSVP for its trainer releases. Consumers are required to follow the official feed of their nearest Nike Store. Prior to a major release, Nike informs potential buyers of an RSVP date. On the release date, stores then tweet requesting an RSVP via direct message. Potential customers are required to tweet within 60 minutes and include specific information. Similar to retail store line-ups it’s products are on a first come, first serve basis. The store directly messages customers to inform them if they are successful in securing the product, along with details of how to pick up the product on day of launch. retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 1 9 casestudies
  20. 20. summary The complexity of the consumer decision journey forces brands to adopt new ways of marketing and this in turn will influence marketing expenditure. Rather than focus purely on the awareness phase, consideration now needs to be given to the whole process, ensuring that everything from information gathering, to post-purchase experiences and support are of consideration. key questions • Does your social strategy deliver the right content, at the right time, in the right format for customers? • Does your marketing provide value of different kinds to customers e.g. utility, monetary, exclusive information, rather than simply pushing messages? • Do you monitor social media effectively, with the intention of joining conversations at appropriate times? • Are you listening to your customers’ post-purchase conversations, and facilitating sharing and customer care where appropriate? how headstream can help • Content, channel and community strategy development • Insights from social media monitoring • Creative campaigns • Community management • Social media training to up-skill in house teams retail sector - current c h allenges and case studies www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 0 ? !
  21. 21. 5 • retail sector - The future of social media So what is coming next in social media that will be of particular relevance to retail brands? As ever, it is difficult to predict what the next innovation will be, but the behavioural trends are clear, and it is this that should inform marketing strategy. areas for further study and consideration To continue the evolution of social media in retail and create even greater value for brands, we highlight five areas of research that represent some of the most promising possibilities: always-on marketing: Media fragmentation, connected consumers and the blurring lines between advertising and PR, led Headstream to develop the Paid, Owned, Earned, Network and Borrowed media framework ( owned-network-borrowed-and-earned-media). This framework allowed us to help plan our client’s content distribution in order to generate earned media. For brands to be relevant and influence the initial consideration and active evaluation stage of consumers, content itself can be planned in an ‘always-on’ ’( on-marketing/) strategy. As opposed to just focussing on the BIG idea, marketers should be looking to focus on the LONG idea. Consideration is given to taking the consumer on a longer journey of engagement and loyalty over time, achieved via valuable pieces of content that stitch together to form a more compelling campaign. interactive technology: We have already featured a few examples of retailers’ use of multi-touch screen product displays and kiosks. Exciting developments are happening on a daily basis in the areas of touch, gesture recognition, voice, face detection, eye tracking, thought and smell. All of these available interactions will have a profound impact on the way people interact with technology, so much so that in the not too-distant future, we will interact with technology in the same way we interact with each other – naturally. retail sector - t h e f uture o f social m edia www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 1
  22. 22. Electronics giant Samsung in January 2012 demonstrated it’s new ‘Smart Glass’ ( ) technology. Smart Glass is a transparent touch screen glass that allows for digital content to be augmented directly on the glass. For retailers, this technology not only can be used to create more engaging window displays and/or in-store displays, but more creative consideration can be given to displaying user generated content such as customer reviews and sharing digital content to social networks. Facebook’s recent acquisition of (, the leading facial recognition platform is a bold move but one that is not limited to identifying your face within photos. Retailers could use cameras coupled with facial recognition technology linked to Facebook, to identify customers and greet them personally via a hologram or virtual sales assistant as you enter a physical store. Customers could be checked in automatically and receive loyalty points to their Facebook account, and be sent discount coupons or promotions direct to their mobile based on interests. All a user would need to do is allow permissions for the retailer to access their data. This all sounds a little bit like ‘Minority Report’ but this technology exists and is only limited by our imagination. Continuing on the theme of marketing location aware messaging, and thinking beyond a mobile handheld device, Google’s Project Glass ( com/111626127367496192147/posts ) and Microsoft’s rumoured ‘Fortaleza’ Kinect ( ) glasses, represent a world of possibility where digital data can be augmented in front of your eyes. Not only could the glasses help you navigate a retail store looking for a particular product, but automatically display user reviews, price comparisons and allow you to collect virtual gifts that could be shared with your social network. Keeping our feet firmly on the ground for the time being is Microsoft’s Kinect device, which has already been used for in store virtual reality mirrors such as the Barbie augmented reality closet ( at Disney World and Bloomingdale’s virtual changing room (http://www.psfk. com/2012/03/bloomingdales-kinect-change-room.html). Speech recognition with the Kinect device is the next area for development, offering the ability to control actions and retrieve data through voice commands. Savvy retailers are already installing interactive displays in windows controlled by Kinect gesture-based technology that allows users to access and share product info without going into the store, or when the store is closed ensuring that products are available 24/7. retail sector - t h e f uture o f social m edia www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 2
  23. 23. audio watermarking and connected tv: With the widespread adoption of smart phones and tablets, companion apps like Shazam ( used alongside TV commercials now offer brands the opportunity to serve up branded content that delivers value and encourages sharing. For the uninitiated, Shazam is a smart phone application that uses audio watermarking technology to serve up content. Shazam achieved its popularity back in 2010 as a music identification service for unfamiliar songs we were listening to. Users install the Shazam app on their mobile phone and by hitting the “tag now” button and holding the phone’s mic up to a speaker; the app will usually identify the song and provide artist information, as well as a link to purchase the album. With more retail brands creating their own applications for mobile and tablets, incorporating audio watermarking means that users can unlock content e.g. promotions, coupons, entertainment, utility when using or viewing content on television, in-store and on tablet via the companion app and share this content amongst their social network. Next generation TV known as ‘Connected TV’ leverages the power of the web. Going forward Connected TVs will offer brands a platform to develop applications such as branded entertainment and utility, allowing users to access content direct from the sofa in lean back mode. Branded content such as videos can be enjoyed and shared via social networks on a larger screen rather than limited to mobile and tablet screens. Retailer M&S have already experimented in TV apps with M&S TV (http://www.marksandspencer. com/MS-TV/b/311612031). Connected TVs also feature built-in cameras. Currently webcam-based AR is already used, as illustrated in the examples of Tesco and Swarovski, making it possible to virtually try on watches or apparel and choose between styles and colours. This scenario in the future can be transferred to connected TV screens in the home. Television ads in the future will allow one click or gesture actions so you could book a test drive when you are watching the advertisement and share your booking amongst your social network. This functionality will make television advertising more measurable. retail sector - t h e f uture o f social m edia www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 3
  24. 24. physical and digital: The term ‘Internet of things’ ( has been talked about for many years, but now with the proliferation of the social web, mobile devices, ubiquitous connectivity, and data pouring out from everywhere it is becoming a reality. The ability to connect the physical world with the virtual world is becoming ever more a reality. This will not happen overnight, but bold retailers are taking small steps in the right direction. One example of the Internet of things within a retail context is C&A Brazil and it’s Facebook connected coat hangers campaign ‘Fashion Like’ (http:// hangers-140101). Whenever someone ‘Likes’ a clothing item online at C&A Brazil‘s site, that thumbs-up is tallied on a screen embedded in clothes hangers on the store’s physical racks. More thought will need to be given by retailers to how they can marry their physical and digital properties, and not treat their physical and online stores as two separate business units. influencers and the interest graph: Pinterest’s success has thrown the subject of ‘interest networks’ into the spotlight since the beginning of 2012 as this blog post explains (http://blog. Going forward we will see even more interest based networks springing up. The life blood running through them all will be Facebook/Twitter, so that users can achieve ‘look at me’, showing off to their social network, when they discover ‘this is me’ content via their interest graph. Planning and creating content taking into account the interest graph and influencers should be at the forefront of retail marketer’s activity. This is to ensure that the right content reaches the right consumer at the right time rather than a one-sized fits all approach. retail sector - t h e f uture o f social m edia www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 4
  25. 25. key questions • How informed, and agile, is your social media team to respond to new opportunities? • How does each marketing activity fit into a compelling ‘LONG idea’ for your brand? • How are your digital world and real world customer experiences being coordinated to create a cohesive experience for the customer? • Do you have a landscape of the relevant interest graphs for your brand? how headstream can help • Education and training to keep ahead of latest trends • Content, channel and community strategy and execution • Insights from social media monitoring retail sector - t h e f uture o f social m edia www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 5 ? !
  26. 26. conclusion Shoppers are becoming smarter, better informed and more demanding. The growing trend to access relevant data and reviews at all points in the consumer decision journey is a fundamental change that savvy retailers are responding to. Whether at the trigger, evaluation, purchase, or after sales point, brands now have opportunities to relate to their customers that simply haven’t been available before. The case studies are beginning to emerge of the footfall, sales and average spend advantages that social strategies can bring. For example Asos’ Urban Tour campaign, (, resulted in 7.36 million global views in 11 weeks, with 14% of viewers purchasing within seven minutes of viewing. While the industry is still on a journey to standardise how this ROI is measured, the early adopters are already gaining advantage over competitors and will be best placed when economic recovery kicks-in. getting started To make the most of these opportunities brands should consider: • making social media an integral and leading part of the marketing strategy, not an afterthought, • co-ordinating social media strategy and activity across departments that may traditionally have been separate e.g. marketing, customer services, technology, • introducing real-time social media monitoring, • creating a 24/7 capability to social engagement via content creation and community management. While these developments require significant time investment they will create a socially enabled retail organisation that is ready to face into the dynamic, highly informed and smart consumer of the social age. Talk to Headstream Twitter: @headstream Web: conclusion and getting started www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 6 The early adopters are already gaining advantage over competitors and will be best placed when economic recovery kicks-in.
  27. 27. how can headstream help? Headstream is helping marketers across diverse sectors move beyond funnel-inspired push marketing towards engagement, and building win-win relationships with prospects and customers. We can help in the following ways: education We offer a broad range of training options, from simple best practice papers and briefing sessions to in-depth bespoke education programmes. We have experience of working with senior management on a 1to1 basis through to sales, marketing, customer service and HR teams. benchmarking Using our leading Social Brands 100 methodology we can provide regular social media performance benchmarking against your key competitors. planning We can help you get your thinking straight and work out how you’ll prove ROI. This is valuable before embarking on any activity or developing your social media strategy • audits and social analytics • insights from social media monitoring • content , channel and community strategy • influencer identification execution With seven years experience of rolling out successful social activity for national and global brands we know how to get cut through and build lasting communities: • creative campaigns • influencer outreach • community management • content calendars h eadstrea m www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 7
  28. 28. about headstream Headstream is a specialist social agency and part of the Lawton Communications Group. For the past six years we’ve been helping brands like the BBC, Activision, and McLaren Automotive become more successful by embedding social into their marketing communications. Headstream is also the agency behind the influential Social Brands 100 ranking of high performing social brands. Find out more at we believe • Social is making marketing exciting again • Social brings brands closer to customers • Social should be simple • When we have fun with our clients, we do better work., or follow us on Twitter @headstream h eadstrea m www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 8
  29. 29. sources rds=e+commerce+growth&location=0&searchBtn=Search smarter-consumer-has-arrived the authors Julius Duncan – Tom Chapman – for more information Andrea Catt +44 (0)23 8082 8520 S ources | aut h ors | f or m ore in f or m ation www . h eadstrea m . co m p age 2 9