It’s no secret that people are making more purchases, and purchase decisions, online. Consumer purchase behaviour is undergoing a dramatic shift that is getting more pronounced every day, and unprepared retailers are seeing declines as a result.
Over the course of the last week or so, there have been several revealing statistics released to support that consumers are not only spending more time shopping online, but that brick and mortar shopping behaviour is being influenced by digital interactions, which of course includes social media.
These changes are even more apparent coming out of Black Friday, which is typically the United States’ biggest shopping day, with consumers flocking to stores hunting, and in some cases fighting, to get a great deal in preparation for the holidays.
Defying the trend toward online shopping in recent years, Black Friday has managed to sustain steady growth, until now.
This year, brick and mortar retail shopping on Black Friday was down for the first time since 2009. Bloomberg reported the decline to be 3.9 percent, which seems marginal, but considering that tens of billions of dollars are spent on this crazy shopping day, is actually quite significant.
Brick and mortar shopping is down, while shopping online is up… way up
It’s no major revelation to learn that while brick and mortar retail shopping has decreased, online shopping has largely filled the void.
But, the dramatic truth of this is how sharply favour has shifted to shopping online. A recent Nielsen study revealed that nearly half of consumers – 46 percent – stated that they intended to shop online on Cyber Monday this year instead of facing the crowds on Black Friday. Now for the dramatic piece of information; that’s a 16-point increase from 2012, just one year ago, when that number was 30 percent.
You don’t need to be a statistician to see how dramatic of a shift that is.
Digital interactions are even affecting consumer behaviour when brick and mortar shopping
Digital interactions aren’t just causing consumers to make more purchases online, they’re actually affecting the way that consumers shop when they visit brick and mortar retailers. It’s worth noting here as well that social media is playing an increasingly important role in shaping even non-social experiences online, which makes it doubly important.
Around the world, shoppers are making fewer shopping trips, and when they do shop, they’re making a smaller number of purchases.
They’re visiting stores prepared, armed with the information they need to make a purchase with a very specific product in mind. The days of impulse buying might not be behind us, but that behaviour is certainly waning.
The auto industry is a prime example of this. Adweek recently reported that where car buyers used to visit 7 dealers to make a purchase decision, today they visit an average of 1.2.
That’s targeted and informed shopping, which is reminiscent of the trends observed this Black Friday. The idea of ‘shopping around’ when it comes to automobiles is virtually nonexistent, and this behaviour likely isn’t isolated to this category.
Where there is change, there is opportunity
This, of course, isn’t all doom and gloom. Not even close. In fact, these trends are hugely positive for those who are openly embracing the power of digital media channels be they owned or paid.
As you’ve undoubtedly observed, and this article has hopefully illustrated, it is no secret that consumers are increasingly making purchase decisions online. They’re researching competitive products on brand websites and comparing prices with apps like Amazon’s Price Check.
They’re also turning to social media to ask questions, discuss products and brands with their social graphs, gain unbiased perspectives, and weigh pros and cons of ownership.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to embrace digital and social media
If you haven’t already embraced the power of digital and social media for your business, now is the time to wake up and come to terms with the fact that consumer behaviour has long since shifted.
These aren’t flash-in-the-pan trends we’re observing. After all, we’re talking about the Internet and social media, which clearly aren’t going anywhere. Also, the explosive and exponential penetration of smartphones is giving consumers constant connection to both, so the influential interactions they’re having online, are also happening at shelves in physical stores.
The proof of shifting consumer purchase behaviour from this Black Friday and Cyber Monday I believe to be precursors to even more dramatic change moving forward.
Where there are rules, there are certainly always exceptions, but I believe the reality for many businesses is that if they don’t have a strong presence online and on social media, it’s not going to be long until they won’t have a presence at all.
Are you braving the crowds to do your shopping for the holidays?
Or, are you doing the bulk of your shopping online?
Are there certain categories of products that you prefer to buy in-store versus online?
It would be great to chat with you about your thoughts on this subject, and learn a little bit about your own shopping behaviour in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Every day there are businesses and brands producing and publishing amazing content, and tightly integrating traditional media with their digital and social programs.
It wasn’t long ago that I was writing about Ikea’s awesome 2014 augmented reality print catalogue, and Ikea has knocked it out of the park again with their second-hand furniture campaign.
What they did
For the eight-week program, Ikea shared their media space with customers looking to sell their old furniture.
Ads were created for chosen participants’ used furniture. These ads featured professional photography, descriptions, prices, and contact information for the individual selling each piece. Then, they were run on a number of media channels including print, television, OOH, and digital.
Finally, Ikea Norway’s Facebook Page was turned over to their audience to serve as a digital flea market where these ads dominated their Timeline.
Check out AdAge for a more detailed description of the program and video that concisely summarizes Ikea’s activity.
Why it’s killer
What makes this campaign so amazing is that numerous lessons from social media and content marketing are applied seamlessly in Ikea’s integrated campaign.
Executing this campaign meant engaging and interacting with Ikea’s audience, the provision of huge value – not just for the sellers, but for buyers as well, and focusing not on selling product, but proving a brand promise.
It’s exciting when brands take a leap like this and do something that doesn’t immediately and obviously connect with sales. How does selling used furniture boost Ikea’s bottom line? It’s not so obvious, right?
But it does. It proves that Ikea loves furniture and that they are the go-to experts on, and providers of, cost-effective furnishing solutions. Whether it’s their product, or their consumers’ second-hand product, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day Ikea has created a memorable experience for everyone touched by this campaign, which will build affinity, loyalty, trust, awareness, and ultimately, sales.
What can be applied to your business?
Personalize your mass media communications
Customization and personalized messaging are not relegated to being social media marketing tactics. Find ways to build contextual relevance in your mass media communications to truly gain your audience’s attention, versus blasting a forgettable message and hoping just enough will stick to affect your bottom line.
Shift focus from your business to your consumers
Whether you are creating social media content, or mass media communications, stay sharply focused on your consumers and what will add value to them versus what you want to say. Your consumers will appreciate you putting them first, and if you’re truly adding value, they’ll actually pay attention to what you have to say.
Create communication ecosystems
When planning social media, content marketing, above the line advertising, below the line advertising, or anything in between, consider how every touch-point can work together to enhance the experience your targeted audience has with your brand. Every time your audience has an experience with your brand it should build off the last to amplify the effect of each individual component. Keep adding value, and keep wowing your audience, and you’ll win consumers.
Get creative and take a risk
I can’t imagine this campaign was easy to pull off. Selling this through Ikea’s hierarchy to buy into this program would have taken guts. It would have been easy to kill this in favour of a more traditional campaign pushing Ikeas newest wares, but they didn’t. They took a risk and it yielded an amazingly creative campaign that has people paying attention. You will never achieve great things by doing what everyone else is doing. Take a risk.
What do you think of Ikea’s Second-Hand Furniture campaign?
What risks have you taken recently that have paid off?
Have you seen any killer content recently that you’d like to share?
It would be great to chat with you about your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
A well-executed live event can be an amazing way to place your brand in front of a targeted audience.
Interacting and engaging with your current and prospective consumers at events gives you opportunity to further prove your brand’s promise, build affinity and awareness, showcase your value proposition, humanize your brand, and much more.
Additionally, the proper utilization of social media can serve as an amazing support and amplification tool to optimize your results and ROI when running events.
Social media channels can be fantastic channels through which to pre-promote your brand’s participation in, or organization of, a live event. Let your audience know the basics such as when and where it is being held.
Also, let them know why they should be excited to get involved in the live event. Whether it’s an entertaining brand experience, free product or swag – or whatever – let them know why they need to be there.
Updating your social media properties live from your event with pictures, interviews, anecdotes, videos, or any other type of content, can be a great catalyst to get live participants involved in your social chatter and to serve as social validation that your event is a hit to your broader community.
Remember that people are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to interact and engage on social media, so don’t forget to encourage attendees to carry on the conversation about your event on social media, even when you are meeting them face-to-face.
It goes without saying that live events can be an incredibly rich opportunity for capturing content. Make sure you capture as many awesome photos and videos as possible.
To ensure no opportunity is missed, I recommend brainstorming in advance of your event to think of every opportunity for content capture that would be valuable. There’s nothing worse than your event wrapping and just at that moment realizing that you’d forgotten to capture something that would have been absolutely killer.
When your event ends, there is still more social media goodness to be had. Share content from your event with your social media community to give them the inside scoop as to how it all went down. They’ll appreciate being able to see how your brand behaves in the real world, and if your event was successful and can show it off online in a compelling fashion, it can help to further solidify their affinity for your brand.
Pre-promotion of next year’s event
Many organizations participate in and run iterations of the same event year after year for a number of reasons. If your organization does the same, content captured from one year’s event can be used as part of next year’s pre-sell campaign. By showing the success of last year’s event you can successfully build excitement and anticipation for this year’s event.
How do you promote events on social media?
How do you keep your social media audience engaged during events?
Do you have any tips for content capture during events?
Can you think of any businesses or brands who do a particularly good job of this that you’d like to share?
It would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
If you’re running a promotion for your business on social media – or anywhere really – you should take care to ensure your prizing structure is strategically relevant.
Your prizing structure should work toward proving your brand’s promise.
Choosing a prize, or creating a prizing structure for your promotions should be carefully thought through so that it builds on your brand’s core value proposition, is attractive to your targeted audience, and rewards existing consumers in a way that is of contextual relevance.
Many prizing options might seem immediately attractive; iPads, tickets to see Miley Cyrus, a Caribbean cruise. Who wouldn’t want to win these things?
But what do these prizes have to do with your business or brand? How do they prove your brand’s promise?
If they aren’t connected, they are irrelevant, should be dismissed as being such, and should not be awarded due to the risk of confusing your message, diluting the quality of your audience with contesters and gamers, and will not yield any true lasting benefits.
Following are a few questions you should answer before arriving on a prizing structure for your next social media promotion:
What business am I in?
Not just what do you sell, or what is the service you offer, but think about the core consumer benefit you offer. Think about how you enrich their lives, and chances are that any prizing that is related to how you enrich consumers’ lives would be a strategically sound choice.
Who is my core audience?
Identify who your hard-core fans are, what is important to them, what they love most about your business or brand. Now think about what prizing will be most attractive to them in the context of what I’ve written in this post. These are the people who will be preaching the good word about your brand, which makes them a fantastic subsegment of your audience to reward with hyper-relevant prizing.
What do I want to accomplish?
Think about the primary reason you’re running a promotion or contest in the first place. Do you want to drive trial? Increase awareness? Generate leads? Acquire relevant fans? Build loyalty? Activate lapsed consumers? There are a number of reasons why you might want to run a promotion, and your prizing structure can influence how well you achieve your goals.
How do you choose prizes for your social media promotions?
Are there any examples you can share of prizes that you thought to be particularly smart for a given brand?
What additional considerations do you take into account when developing a prizing structure?
What is the most hilariously irrelevant prize you’ve seen awarded?
As always, it would be great to chat with you about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Listen up agency friends!
I know there are some of you that find the ongoing creation of social media content to be a bit of a drag.
It takes a huge amount of time.
It is a constant and ongoing requirement.
It can seem fleeting and trivial.
It often doesn’t allow for the same level of crafting as other communication platforms.
But, there is huge creative opportunity here that you really should be excited for.
Conceptualizing and creating killer social media content couldn’t be more on-trend and be capturing more attention than it is right now. Businesses are buying into the power of social media marketing, and big name marketers and advertisers are receiving accolades and awards for the amazing quality of their content.
Creative convergence means everything is content
Creative that used to be well defined by its respective (media) channel is no longer so clearly delineated. Let’s face it, with the proliferation of digital, mobile, online, social media, and countless other technologies, there has been a massive creative convergence happening for some time. All advertising, marketing and communication is increasingly becoming content of one variety or another – text, audio, video, and visual – and being on the cutting edge of acknowledging this will lead to better, more focused creative work.
It can be easier to sell a crazy idea
Let’s face it, not many of us are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars producing a single piece of social media content. In fact, most of us are spending next to nothing (nothing being a relative term), save for our time. Because of this, our Clients are much more likely go along for a ride and test an exciting, maybe even crazy, new creative idea on social media (of course it needs to make strategic sense). And why wouldn’t they? If it works, everyone looks like a rock star. If it doesn’t, it can easily be viewed as a test or learning opportunity. No big deal.
You get to do more work
I know this may seem counter intuitive, but doing more work should be a good thing. Versus traditional media, you typically get more opportunities to think about interesting ways to engage a brand’s targeted consumers, and more opportunity to execute your concepts on social media. Thinking of amazingly smart, creative ideas and seeing them in market is a big reason why many of us got into this business, right?
Social media begs for innovation
By it’s nature, social media is a dynamic, ever-changing landscape. Platforms are being updated, new networks are being developed, usage behaviour shifts, technology enables new features, and on and on. This dynamism carries over to the content we can create for each respective platform. The prospect of using tools in new and interesting ways should be exhilarating, and there are countless ways to engage, interact with, and provide value to your targeted audience. What all of this means is that there has never been a better time to produce work that is truly innovative. Exciting stuff!
The creative opportunity that social media content provides is near limitless, and is hugely exciting.
For those who have come up through advertising, marketing and communications working primarily on more traditional channels, the conceptualization and creation of content for social media can be a shock. It’s a never-ending creative assignment. But it’s also one of the most opportunity rich assignments one can have, and those who are truly innovative on these platforms are getting recognized as being leaders in creativity.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities for creativity on social media?
What work have you done, or see, that is absolutely killer?
It would be awesome to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial