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December is a critical month in Retail. Sales nearly double to £39bn, and for groups such as HMV, Game and Dixons, it’s when they make the bulk of their profits.
But tough times have led experts to predict that 2011 will be the high street’s toughest Christmas in decades. The biggest names have already started slashing prices to help stimulate sales. But what can digital PR do to help tempt shoppers through a retailer’s door?
Bell Pottinger North has a track record in effectively using social media campaigns to increase footfall and sales for retailers including Asda, Leeds Corn Exchange and Bagel Nash. Here are our top five tips for effective social media for retailers.
Alongside the right products and prices, shopping choices are based on experience too. Experiential activities and great events in store are vital to engaging key audiences by creating memorable and impactful first-hand experiences with your brand.
How can you translate this into a positive and engaging experience on social media? Think about how you can entertain, add value or what will attract interest. At this festive time, facebook special offers, YouTube competitions, interactive games and music are all useful tools.
2. Opinion formers
Being featured within a ‘Christmas gift’ article in the Sunday papers has long increased product sales, but the rise in social media has created new influencers who have the power to recommend your product to a far larger customer base. Active on twitter, or writing a blog, they’ve built active, loyal followers.
So pinpoint the right bloggers for you and take time to build a relationship with them. Be it mumsnet to reach yummy mummys, gransnet for the more mature customer or Engadget for the gadget lovers amonsgt us.
Only 11% of people in the UK use social media to complain. The vast majority use it to share, help and praise companies and products. Not only do views influence friends and family, but 41% of people are influenced by the views of total strangers.
Put in place vehicles to enable customers to comment and recommend your products. From enabling purchases to be shared and then rated on facebook, twitter and email; to mobilising the 8 million registered users on Foursquare; social media enables truly creative customer recommendation programmes.
Don’t forget that the battle for sales is increasingly being fought online too. Mega Monday on 28 November was the start of what analysts believe will be the start of the busiest two weeks of internet shopping in the UK. Sales are expected to topple £3.7bn, an increase of 14% on last year according to IMRG, the trade body for the UK’s online retailers.
Since Google changed its ranking criteria this year, how you choose to conduct your social media activities now has the power to increase your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and so visibility online. This will significantly increase traffic to your website.
For an instant way to secure additional sales before the end of the Christmas and New Year sales season, combine SEO with pay per click (PPC). As a special stocking Christmas bonus we can set you up with an effective PPC campaign and give you your first £75 free!
No digital retail strategy would be complete without consideration of the controversial deal-of-the-day services such as Groupon. They have seen incredible growth in the UK, with Groupon having gained over six million members in Britain alone.
Despite clearly getting your name and service in-front of a local market, it is essential that a financially beneficial deal is agreed. It is also important that offers are used to build repeat sales, not used as a tool to gain instant cheap sales. Heed warnings from The Telegraph, FT and The Drum, who all suggest trouble is brewing due to increasing numbers of disgruntled customers.