Social media, a word that we often use these days, is the reality platform from where we get the latest hot happenings of the world. As every possible industry is investing in social media, then, how can retail not? The footprints of retail activities can be easily reviewed on the networking platforms with a bunch of information. In its most basic form, it bestows a venue in which retailers can hold strong on communication with their universal followers base.
Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest: do these platforms make you move a little toward the stores? Does a buzz on social media create a desire in you to shop? Snapchat stories, swipe to shop, shoppable Instagram tags are the result of a huge wave of client engagement on the social landscape. Today’s hashtag generation that is totally open in putting their views forward is using these platforms as a medium to express their opinion on the brands and products.
With the advent of numerous platforms to guide and provide information about the retail universe, merchandising and social media are not far behind due to their correlation. How are retailers reinventing themselves according to social media adaptations, what role merchandising plays in it? That's exactly what we are trying to understand here so, let's have a look at the scope of social merchandising in the retail spectrum.
Social statistics for retail
The platform that alters a two-way communication plays an influential role in attaining valuable insights about customers preferences in order to achieve the goal of placing the right product at the right place and time. Consumer expression through quick responses via social media platforms in form of “likes, share and comment” empowers retailers to plan product assortment on the basis of demographics and other gathered data. Furthermore, social statistics help retailers to adjust the order levels and increase profit margins.
Retailers are trying to reinvent merchandising as per the gathered social statistics. According to a report by Boston Retail Partners, 27% of retailers use social statistics in product development and promotional planning. Furthermore, according to the statistics, social media use in data mining in retail marketplace is increasing with every passing year.
Some brands opted for the in-store merchandising strategy based on the customer reviews. C&A is one of them as it played its smart card by placing the opinionated hangers in the store that displayed the number of likes on facebook the product has managed to get. This indestructible force of social media in stores is working as the driving energy for the merchandisers to not ignore these platforms and consider social statistics during merchandising process. It generates a sense of connectivity amongst the consumers with the retailers and creates a stronger bond.
Nordstrom is another example that cleverly knows how to throw the light on merchandise. It successfully used Pinterest platform by coming up with the board named as “Top Pins” to tell all its customers about the product it is going to display in stores. Pinterest tag with “P” in the store right next to the product told the story of highly rated product on social media. Hence, such merchandising strategies draw the link between social media platforms and the real world by connecting the consumers.
In-store social display
What happens when in-store meets social? What's more than a social media wall in the store with all the product reviews and feedbacks? For the digital savvy generation, these reviews play a pivotal role in their decision-making process. Display of merchandise on digital wall connected to social media handle definitely reassures consumers about the product ratings. According to DataTrend.com, digital displays have the power to increase the product purchase amount by 29.5% and make customers spend 30% more time in the store. When It is paired with social media, 44% of shoppers admit that it influences their purchase decisions.
Nike incorporated the social media wall in its store featuring the live updates from Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube that gave the insights about the products from various soccer teams.
Online social merchandising
Connecting the dots of online and offline retail is the need of the hour but the integration of customer data achieved from social media can add the icing on the retail cake. Curated and targeted merchandising in online space can definitely increase the shopping cart size. Let’s carry on with the subject of the read and focus on online merchandising and social media impact on it.
Social merchandising plug-ins into the website helps the retailers to track the customer status and journey. Such merchandising strategy is implemented to hold the attention of the prospective client and influence their purchase decision by recommending the products based on their previous purchase and the purchase made by their social group friends. This precision is a step forward to the specific merchandising strategies followed by the online retailers. It ignites a sense of validation about the product and experience in clients mind.
Net-a-Porter keeps its customer base on point while working on its online merchandising strategy. Nap live and the Netset are the examples of its focused merchandising based on its customer data.
Nap live by net-a-porter provides data to customers about the number of people browsing the website and showcases the products bought by the most stylish women in the world.
Get "all in one" space - Photo: @Vogue
The Netset by Net-a-porter perfectly reveals the golden era of digital and social exploration by pleasing its customer base with this highly active platform. Customer reviews, your personal space, a live feed of what's trending in the world and instant gratification provides its clients with an easy and instant shopping pleasure.
With the evolving dynamics of merchandising, retailers need to adapt to the newly generated norms of merchandising and social media by reinventing themselves to fit in the upgraded retail marketplace. Although, retailers are working with customer data by keeping the statistics in merchandising process as it gives a spark to the validation about the purchase made by the customer. Thus, due to the evolving rate of social media involvement in retail, there is no other thought in saying that retail is going to be the ultimate social platform with the interconnected universe of social media and merchandising.