Social media platforms will be a major source of information and persuasion for this year’s holiday shoppers, and many consumers will turn to their social networks to help them navigate through the online crowds. Online shopping is the key retail trend to follow, as more are turning to their devices in order to help them make informed purchase decisions. With the stress, time-constraints, and strict budgets associated with the holidays, it’s no surprise that social media will play a huge role in businesses hoping to maximize their profits during the last quarter of the 2011 fiscal year.
Whether they’re comparing prices, reading reviews, or actively making purchases, the average holiday shopper plans to do 46% of their holiday shopping online, according to the latest research conducted by the National Retail Institute.
The same survey also found that 29.2% of consumers (that’s nearly 3 in 10) will check out a company’s Facebook page for more information about products, consumer reviews, or holiday promotions, while 65.1% plan on reading customer reviews on a company’s website. A similar survey conducted by the marketing research firm, SymphonyIRI, breaks down exactly how consumers plan on using the Internet during the 2011 holiday season. 61% of consumers will use more coupons from group couponing websites (as opposed to only 33% in 2010), 48% will take advantage of promotions learned online, and 43% plan on comparing products online via blogs, forums, and other social platforms.
According to Deloitte’s 2011 Holiday Survey, 44% of consumers will use social media as part of their holiday shopping process. Below is a breakdown of how consumers plan on using social media:
As a business, how can you use social media to help you maximize your success during the 2011 holiday season?
Update Is The New “Up Sell”
It is extremely important to keep consumers up to date on all the latest promotions, discounts, one-time deals, and exciting new product linesas holiday shoppers are in hot pursuit of deals, reviews and coupons. By continuously pushing new updates across your social platforms you can easily increase your business’ presence by staying relevant with key search words. In addition, a frenzy of updates will filter through the viral tunnel which will ultimately send more people in your business’ direction.
Integrate your social posts with your other online advertising communications (such as emails, banners etc). This allows for instant feedback and analytics that can help optimize conversation and response rates by responding to your customer’s needs and preferences in real time.
Don’t Just Entice Customers With Your Promotions, Engage Them
Spread the news about your unique promotions (Clickz suggests activities such as: gift registries, holiday countdowns, and price altering) through your social networks. By adding opt-in and registration opportunities, like Facebook tabs, you can easily drive value and add engagement while at the same time growing your databases for more effective conversations even after the holidays.
Respond With Rewards
Incorporate incentives such as exclusive offers and loyalty events for social community members. Make a reward available for those consumers who engage with your holiday campaigns and who help to spread the word.
Integrate The Ability To Make Purchases
46.7% of holiday shoppers will buy online this year, so why not use those online purchases to leverage your social media platforms? Use your Facebook page to offer purchasing opportunities (this is known as F-commerce). Clickz also suggests using your social platforms to create social events around big commerce events, like “Chat With The Designer”.
So, get to where your consumers are this holiday season. Respond to the latest trends and shifts in holiday shopping behaviors, and leverage your social media presence in order to maximize your profits in the fourth quarter and beyond. Remember, you need to keep your consumers up-to-date with fresh, exciting content, and compelling, unique promotions, as this year’s holiday shoppers are all about price discounts, product reviews, and comparative shopping. There are also a number of many creative ways to extend your success and capitalize on conversions by incorporating your existing social platforms. If you’re overwhelmed by these tasks, or are in unsure of how your business fits in with this new holiday shopping model, turn to the experts here at Blab! For suggestions, strategies and executions.