Social Media for Retail

Simon Kemp

Shopping has always been a highly social experience, so it’s little surprise that retailers all over the world are exploring how they can best harness social media, both online and on the high street.

This is a topic I explored in the above presentation, which I gave at the Asia Pacific Retailers Convention in Singapore late last year.

It explores 3 key questions:

  1. What exactly are social media?
  2. Why are they relevant to (retail) marketing?
  3. How can retailers in Asia harness social media?

We begin by examining the rationale for using social media, with some high-level numbers that demonstrate the scale and pervasiveness of social media in Asia and around the world. Tellingly, these numbers have changed even in the few weeks since I delivered this presentation, as we saw in our recent reports on Social, Digital and Mobile in Asia.

The second part of the presentation contains some great examples of how retailers like Uniqlo and Tesco have used social media to help with different objectives, from raising brand awareness and driving sustained loyalty to delivering one-to-one customer service.

We then take a quick look at some key trends that will shape the future of social media for retailers:

Having demonstrated a clear rationale for retailers to use social media, the presentation concludes by setting out 8 simple steps that retailers can follow to get started in social media:

  1. Define the business objectives you hope to achieve through social media activities;
  2. Monitor and interpret your audience’s conversations in social media;
  3. Understand your audience’s motivations for using social media, and what that means for your brand;
  4. Identify how you can add value to your audience’s world;
  5. Select the most appropriate social platforms for your audience and objectives;
  6. Strategise your approach to each of these platforms:
  7. Start off small, using a ‘test-and-learn’ approach;
  8. Identify how you’d improve based on this experience, and start the process again

It goes without saying that different retail brands will have different needs, and even the same brand will need to adopt a different approach for different audiences and cultures, but this overall framework should help retail brands everywhere to start harnessing the power of social media.