The Top 5 Ways Luxury Retailers Can Leverage Online Social Influence
Despite an ailing economy, the luxury retail industry continues to thrive. So much so that luxury retail nationwide has outpaced overall consumer spending, seeing increased sales month-over-month throughout the past year, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.
Because of this, luxury retailers have the advantage to embrace new, progressive technologies—as well as programs that consist of Customer Experience Management (CEM) strategies—in an effort to better connect with customers and understand what is driving their purchasing behaviors.
CEM and other innovative business intelligence tools significantly contribute to what is now known as a brand’s “social influence” today. This means that brands are no longer talking ‘at’ individual recipients, but instead disseminating information through interactive social-media platforms.
In the competitive world of luxury retail, where a higher price typically means a more sophisticated, “better” brand, having a positive social influence is a key point of differentiation. So what are some ways luxury retailers can leverage social influence?
1. Social Communities
A brand’s followers can become brand advocates if they have the opportunity to speak with an organization directly. By implementing a blog, for example, luxury retailers can facilitate communication with viewers and fans by posting brand news, thought leadership from executives, events and relevant links. Microblogging service Tumblr was an integral part of this year’s renowned Fashion Week, for instance. The organization arranged for influential Tumblr bloggers to have unique access to A-list fashion shows, and in turn, high-end brands received the exposure of an enormous online community of fashion enthusiasts.
2. Viral Recommendations
A Pew Internet study found that more than half of consumers go online for product and service research prior to making a purchase. In light of this, online recommendations can be the first impression a consumer has of a specialty retailer.
Social networking application tools like Empathica’s advocacy engine GoRecommend, for example, make it simple for brands to encourage consumer advocates to virally spread their satisfaction after a particular retail experience. After completing a survey post-visit, the GoRecommend engine prompts those customers who were happy with their experience to make an online recommendation via Facebook, Twitter or email. Since its launch in 2009, GoRecommend has been used by over 100 top brands and has driven recommendations that have been shared across more than 65 million friends via social networks.