A large number of retailers could greatly improve their transactional websites by better utilising social media, a new report argues.
The research, conducted by independent industry analysts Verdict, found that too many retailers are missing the opportunity to turn their online stores into entertainment destinations.
By making small changes, such as embedding a Youtube video relevant to the trader’s particular sector and its customers, can help the company relate to its consumers on a more personable level.
Charlotte Woods, Analyst at Verdict, said: “Most retailers have recognised the value of social media, but very few have realised its potential to benefit their online stores. By viewing and running the two operations separately, retailers simply aren’t realising the full power of social media.
“Retailers have the ability to attract increased levels of traffic to their online stores by using social media to create entertainment destinations which consumers can get excited about. As a result, retailers have the ability to create retail theatre online.”
Integration seems to be the key and one company that Verdict applauds in its Social Media Strategies in Global Retailing report for its immersive use of social media online is US-based clothing company RVCA.
Its homepage is dominated by blogs, Youtube clips, music tour dates and Facebook and Twitter pages, with the link to the online store given lower priority than the tabs for information pages.
This may seem counterintuitive but customers end up spending longer on the site increasing their relationship with and loyalty to the brand and increasing the likelihood they will spend money.
Woods believes that this sort of strategy could really help entertainment retailers who could feature interviews with authors and actors on they homepages.
“Retailers across all sectors should not underestimate the potential of creating online retail channels dedicated primarily to entertainment,” Woods added.
“This sort of strategy will become increasingly important as competition continues to grow.
“Retailers will therefore have to work harder to engage customers, and integrating social media with their online stores could prove lucrative to those that get on the front foot.”