Every year, more people come to rely on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest news, deals and inside scoops to inform their shopping habits. Some retailers haven’t realized how powerful social media can be, but others are on the cutting edge. Here are a few of the most social-savvy retailers out there today.
Image via Flickr by jbhthescots
Target is one of the more flexible retail chains in the market today. It has the variety of a big box store but the designer appeal of a department store, plus a willingness to tailor shops to the shape of the surrounding neighborhood. This attention to detail comes out in Target’s social media presence with customer-focused campaigns like Halloween costume picture sharing. This increases the chance of Likes and friends sharing favorite brands between their individual feeds.
It’s no surprise that the biggest name in online retail has a strong social media presence. Amazon really thrives on its customer reviews system, not just because it makes consumers feel more comfortable with their purchases, but because reviewers are often eager to share their expertise. Amazon also offers daily deals and flash sales that travel through social networks like super-charged word-of-mouth.
Walmart does big business throughout the year, but this retail giant brings in especially big sales during the holiday season. It was a social networking push that let a lot of people know about Walmart’s Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals, but the real innovation this year is the company’s new Shopycat Facebook app. By plugging into shares, Likes and mentions in a user’s friends network, the app offers the user gift suggestions to make holiday season shopping easier and, of course, point customers toward gift deals at Walmart.
4. Microsoft X-Box
While most retailers use social media as a marketing tool, Microsoft’s X-Box division has done a great job of hitting sites like Twitter to improve the user experience. In addition to promoting games and hardware, the X-Box team uses Twitter as an early warning system for glitches, outages and other operational problems. Users are often quick to post complaints about service issues, so the team checks into problems more quickly thanks to the direct customer line Twitter offers. So, if you follow @XboxSupport, you’ll actually have someone listening on the other end.
The amazing thing about threads-and-gadgets retailer Thinkgeek isn’t that it uses social media to connect with customers, it’s that it seems to be better at it than most other retailers. Thinkgeek knows what its customers like, from cool gear to funny .gifs. This keen sense of customer engagement has led Thinkgeek to get a significant amount of traffic from Twitter despite actually having fewer followers than many other retailers that are overall more highly-rated. Translation: Thinkgeek speaks to a niche, but it’s an active and enthusiastic niche.
6. Best Buy
Electronics retailer Best Buy may be a big company with big stores, but its approach to social media has a real small business feel that customers love. Best Buy recently ranked highest among a study of 100 retailers for customer service on social media, responding to more customer concerns more quickly and with more satisfactory results than any of its competitors. This a good strategy, as any customer who browses Best Buy’s website or brick-and-mortar store already expects to get help choosing a laptop tablet or getting specs on a new flatscreen TV. Adding a bit more customer service after they get home is a great way to guarantee repeat business.
High-end department store chain Nordstrom isn’t shy about technology. Many of their stores equip staff with mobile devices to assist with customer support and purchases, and they were one of the first department stores to shift their expanded inventory online. The reason Nordstrom is a strong social media retailer is its smart acquisition of popular platforms for flash sales, reviews and fan communities. Liking Nordstrom is basically opening a Swiss army knife of online retail apps.
Because social media is such a big part of the lives of today’s consumers, retailers that use social media well are retailers who know their customers. That’s why these seven are smart Likes for any savvy shopper.
- Amazon, Nordstrom shoppers only behind Walmart shoppers in social media (q13fox.com)
- Black Friday: Top US Retailers Battle for Social Media Attention (socialmediatoday.com)
- Engaging with In-Store Customers Over Twitter (business2community.com)
- How Big-Box Retailers Use Local Distribution Centers to Cut Costs (staples.com)
- Who Wins the Social Word of Mouth Race This Black Friday? (everything-pr.com)
- Amazon, Nordstrom shoppers among top social media users (bizjournals.com)
- Nordstrom Will Use Pinterest To Decide What Merchandise To Display In Stores (JWN) (businessinsider.com)
- Retailers Using Big Data: The Secret Behind Amazon and Nordstrom’s success (sqreamtech.com)
- The Social Tea: How DAVIDsTEA Developed a Loveable Brand (business2community.com)
- 7 Lessons on Improving Customer Experience: How the Power of Social Media and a Brand Committed to the Customer Experience Gives Back During the Holidays! (robertjmoreau.com)