46% Of Shoppers Have ‘Called Out’ Brands On Social Media

Social media has raised the stakes of retail customer service: 81% of shoppers say social media has increased accountability for brands, and only 8% would stay silent if they saw inappropriate behavior from a brand, according to Sprout Social.

As many as 46% of consumers have used social to “call out” brands. Naturally, Millennials are leading the pack here — there’s a 43% greater likelihood that Millennials will call out a brand on social, compared to other generations.

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Lowe’s Seeks Macro Impact With Instagram ‘Microvideos’

Lowe’s launched an Instagram Stories campaign showing DIYers how to redecorate a vertical room through the confines of a mobile-friendly, full-screen video. On Sept. 7, the retailer unveiled the first “story” of the campaign, which includes 64 microvideos that total a combined 35 seconds.

Lowe’s partnered with the ad agency BBDO New York to create the Instagram campaign. The campaign was born out of the annual Facebook Creative Hackathon, and is designed to take an engaging, light-hearted approach to project videos, while showing how consumers can quickly change a small space into a more functional area.

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LIDS, Lowe’s And Sephora Find New Ways To Tackle Social Media

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It’s clear by now that for retailers, leveraging social media is no longer a “nice to have,” it’s a “must-have.” As new tools within social media channels become available to brands and retailers, it is quickly becoming a top resource for engaging with consumers, increasing brand awareness and even gaining more foot traffic in stores.

Many brands have welcomed social media marketing with open arms and are seeing its benefits, triggering greater interest. In fact, 91% of marketers want to know the most effective social tactics and best ways to engage their audience with social media, according to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner. So the interest is there, but they might just need a little push.

Retailers such as LIDS, Lowe’s and Sephora, among others, have realized the benefits of having a social media marketing strategy and are utilizing these offerings in unique ways this year, including:

  • Bringing social media into the store through user generated content (UGC);
  • Using “stories” features on Instagram to announce flash sales and develop unique campaigns; and
  • Monitoring social media activity with in-house command centers. 

Mixing Social Media With Brick-And-Mortar

Social media is a great driver for UGC, which can then be taken beyond the confines of a mobile device and into brick-and-mortar stores through digital signage. Ed King, Co-founder of High Street Collective, a retail experience consultancy, said this is an untapped territory in retail with much potential.

“One area of focus should be in how brick-and-mortar retailers leverage social media inside their store,” he said. “One of the last areas of social media retailers haven’t quite figured out is how to crack the code when integrating it inside the store.”

The benefits of UGC online and in-stores are clear. Research from Olapic shows that:

  • 45% of consumers look at user-generated images for inspiration once a day or more; 
  • Consumers trust images of other consumers on social media 7X more than advertising; and
  • 56% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after seeing it featured in a positive or relatable user-generated image.

King suggested displaying UGC within the store via digital signage, which can result in less buyer’s remorse and returns. Customers shopping in the store can see their peers’ photos of how they wear apparel or use sporting goods items and relate to them, helping to make their purchase decision. “It lessens purchase regret if you have a social wall showing people that are kayaking with products in [a sporting goods] store and validating purchases,” said King.

New Instagram Features Enhance Marketing Strategies  

Instagram has quickly turned into the social platform where consumers can discover new brands and shop them with a single tap on their devices.

For example, the platform’s new “Shop Now” feature allows consumers to tap an image to get pricing information and be brought directly to the web site to add the item to their cart. Retailers such as Kate Spade, Warby Parker, Lulus and J.Crew have already seen success with this new feature. In fact, Lulus reported that 33% of people who tap to learn more about a product visit the company’s site via Shop Now.

Instagram also has stepped up its “Stories” game by enabling users to include links in each story that the viewer can access by swiping up. The feature then brings the user directly to a landing page, from which they can also return back to the app exactly where they left off. This allows retailers to drive Instagram users seamlessly to a web site.

Lowe’s is currently using Instagram Stories for a new campaign that leverages the narrow, vertical configuration of the capability to show transformations in other similarly-shaped micro spaces. The retailer also has found an interesting solution to viewers who skip stories frequently. By uploading multiple still frames as micro video clips that immediately skip to the next, the retailer created a flipbook effect of a room’s transformation. In the final frame, users are then prompted to swipe up, directing them to a mobile experience that includes how-to instructions and all the items from the project.

“Lowe’s is always exploring innovative and creative ways to engage with customers that are authentic to the social platform,” said Derrick Wood, VP Brand, Content and Advertising at Lowe’s in a statement. “With our new campaign on Instagram Stories, Lowe’s has developed an engaging, light-hearted approach to project videos, while showing how simple it can be to quickly change a small space into a more functional area. The simplicity of each project is matched by a quick swipe to more detailed instructions and to easily purchase the supplies needed to complete it.”

Sephora is using Instagram Stories to announce flash sales, which is a unique way to keep shoppers on their toes and going back to the brand’s social media page on a weekly basis. Every Thursday, the retailer showcases five products on its Stories that will be on sale for 50% off while supplies last. The first week’s items — a collection of eye shadow palettes — sold out in less than a day.   

LIDS Tracks Social Engagement With In-House ‘Press Box’

One of the requirements of leveraging a social media presence is that every channel needs to be monitored. LIDS is keeping tabs on all social activity with an in-house digital command center powered by Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Social Studio tool. The LIDS Press Box is located in the company’s headquarters and provides insight on customers, stores, products and the brand itself.

“We created a space in our office that houses the social studio tool and individuals that work on all things social,” said Jeff Pearson, SVP of e-Commerce and Marketing at LIDS in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. ‘We have eight 55-inch TVs on one wall while others are glass, so people can see what is happening — what we’re doing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, as well as competitor information. Then, there are portions of dashboards that show our overall sentiment — positive and negative. It’s really a share of voice and visual area so people can see what’s happening from a social standpoint.”

The Press Box is staffed approximately 20 hours a day, so there is almost always someone available to answer questions and collect feedback from social channels. Some ways the retailer is doing that include:

  • Hosting contests on Facebook, such as “The Ultimate Hat Collection” campaign, which asks consumers to take photos of their hat collections to win prizes (a good way to gain UGC); and
  • Monitoring images on Instagram to discover trends in sports fashion.

LIDS’ efforts and its work with Salesforce have greatly enhanced its social media marketing strategies, according to Pearson. Since October 2016, the brand’s Facebook followers grew by 350,000; Twitter followers grew by 10,000; Instagram followers grew by 35,000.

“Our growth rates grew at a much-accelerated pace compared to our competition,” said Pearson. “The Social Studio tool allowed us to quickly generate appropriate accounts. Then, we had the tools in place so we can start to insert ourselves in conversations and have the right type of content/communication to enable that growth.”

Social media is an important aspect of retailers’ marketing strategies, and it’s only going to get more prominent. As new features and capabilities are introduced, brands must accept and utilize them in order to better connect with socially savvy consumers.

But despite successes, many retailers still have trouble convincing their top-level leadership about the importance of social media marketing. Without executive-level sponsorship, it can be difficult for organizations to scale up their social media efforts.

“As more of the industry is affected by Amazon, we have to use social media to get out there,” said Laura Davis-Taylor, Co-founder of High Street Collective. “And it comes from leadership and getting them to think differently and open their minds.” 

Supermarkets Fail To Bridge Consumer-Social Media Gap

While 87% of supermarket shoppers report regularly following one or more social media platforms, just 25% indicate they are friends with or connected to their primary grocery store, according to a study from the Retail Feedback Group (RFG).

Grocers aiming to bolster their social media interactions are going to have to add value to the experience through content and recommendations, similar to the way e-Commerce sites already include these features.

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72% Of Businesses Say Buy Buttons Don’t Sell

Digital marketers are overwhelmingly rejecting the use of buy buttons on social media platforms, and for good reason: 72% of businesses say that they have seen no sales as a result of buy buttons in 2016, according to a report from Campaigner.

In fact, 25% fewer marketers are using buy buttons now compared to this time last year, and nearly 40% plan to reduce their use of them in 2017. While buy buttons in their present form have been a bust for retailers, marketing teams still may have uses for them in the future.

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Facebook Mobile Ads Generate 72% Higher Returns Than Desktop

Despite producing a lower conversion rate than their desktop counterparts, direct response mobile campaigns on Facebook actually provide a 72% higher return on ad spend (ROAS), according to data from Rakuten Marketing.

On average, Facebook mobile ads generate:

  • 63% higher click-through rates than desktop;

  • 33% lower conversion rates than desktop; and

  • A 70% lower cost-per-click rate than desktop.

So while consumers are more likely to click on a Facebook ad on mobile but are less likely to convert, the much cheaper cost-per-click rate means retailers can optimize their marketing and advertising strategies within the social network and prioritize mobile investments.

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72% Of Shoppers Prefer Social Ads From SMBs During Holiday Season

0aRR SocialHoliday ImageThe holiday season is an excellent time for local retailers to optimize their social media strategy: 72% of shoppers say they prefer to see local businesses’ ads on social media during the holidays, rather than campaigns from national retailers.

Some ways local businesses can provide inspiration during the season via social media include:

  • Facebook and Pinterest have influenced 69% of shoppers for shopping ideas and inspiration;

  • 70% of respondents say they are likely to click on a Facebook ad that relates to their area;

  • 73% are most likely to engage with images of products they’re interested in than any other piece of content on Facebook; and

  • 25% are more likely to recognize a business in their area if they see it promoted on Twitter.


0aholidayhubUsers favor Instagram for engagement with local businesses: 52% of respondents say they are more likely to engage with a local retailer on Instagram than any other social network. However, the content within Instagram must not be sponsored. When asked what action inspires them when they see sponsored Instagram content on their feeds, nearly three-quarters of respondents say they would either ignore it or not take action.


Regardless of the platform used, these SMBs also must continually reach out to consumers. Nearly three quarters, 73%, of respondents noted at least some importance for local businesses to communicate with customers on social media during the holiday season.

When it comes to influence, 55% of shoppers say a brand’s social media presence has at least some impact on their decision-making process when deciding where to buy during the holiday season.

To compile the research, G/O Digital conducted a survey from July 6 through July 12, 2016, garnering 1,372 responses from U.S. shoppers older than 18 that used either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in the past three months.

Birchbox Targets Multitasking Women Through Its First Social-Only Ad Campaign

In May, Birchbox kicked off a six-week campaign on Facebook and Instagram to generate brand awareness and further its reach to a new potential consumer demographic: multitasking women with only a casual interest in beauty products. Retargeting capabilities allow the brand to adjust the content it presents, based on how visitors consume the video content. The subscription retailer has suspended its TV advertising while the social experiment runs its course.

“We wanted to test a more efficient, targeted way to spend our marketing dollars and effectively communicate our full value proposition to the right people,” said Amanda Tolleson, Interim Chief Marketing Officer at Birchbox “The aim was to use real customers to tell our story and show how Birchbox helped them easily find products that fit into their lives.”

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Instagram Tops E-Commerce Engagement Despite Tiny Share Of Traffic

While social media sites only account for 6% of all web traffic diverted to e-Commerce business, Instagram manages to lead the pack when it comes to keeping these potential shoppers engaged with a retailer.

Users accessing an e-Commerce site via Instagram spend an average of 192.04 seconds on the site, marking the longest rate of any channel, according to research from Yotpo. After Instagram, the next longest set of services include: