Retail Trends: How you can use social media to drive footfall to your store

by 26 July 2017

Retail Trends: How you can use social media to drive footfall to your store by Ellie Prior

Social media has rapidly become a significant aspect of society, not only in terms of how consumers communicate with each other, but also how retailers and brands interact with consumers.

The UK social media platform audience is vast, with 16.4 million Twitter users, 42.3 million Facebook users, and over 14 million Instagram users. Currently the opportunity to engage with this extensive audience is being missed by many convenience and fuel retailers, with the 2016 ACS Local Shop Report finding that only 22% are active on Facebook, and only 18% on Twitter.

The importance of social media for convenience and fuel retailers will increase in the coming years with the growing need to target the younger generations such as Millennials and Generation Z, who are the most active users of social media. Millennials are already a significant segment of the convenience sector customer base, accounting for 32% of the market. As this figure grows with the next generation, convenience retailers must ensure they actively engage with their audience.

There are numerous benefits for retailers using social media; the main being the ability to communicate directly with consumers on a 24/7 basis, outside the confines of the store hours and environment. This allows retailers to promote themselves, provide store information, and ultimately build a relationship with customers and the local community. Social media can also provide valuable insight into the customer base such as who they are, their interests, habits and behaviour.

The ultimate objective of using social media however is to attract customers into the store and drive sales. Retailers can achieve this via the use of appealing content, providing consumers with a reason to engage with them and visit their store.

Advertising promotions

Social media is an effective way for convenience retailers to advertise in-store promotions and offers to attract customers to the store. In a survey conducted by Mintel, 50% of the social media users questioned said that they follow brands and companies on social media to find out about deals and special offers. Convenience retailers could reward customers for engaging with their social media by conducting ‘social media exclusive’ promotions, where the customer can redeem the offer by presenting the post at the checkout.

Product news

Convenience retailers can use social media to keep customers up to date with what new products are in store, or what products are back in stock. The 2016 ACS Local Shop Report found that one of the top drivers for consumers to convenience stores was the store having the product they want in stock. Providing customers with product information will help entice customers to the store, and provide clarity ensuring they don’t leave disappointed.

Feedback

Social media provides a platform for instant feedback and can facilitate dialogue between retailers and consumers. Convenience retailers can obtain vital feedback from their customers on topics such as products, store features and customer satisfaction, allowing them to adapt their services and offerings to the needs of the customer. Social media platforms also allow retailers to respond to customer comments and feedback, whether positive to respond with gratitude, or negative to resolve any complaints or issues.

Engage with the local community

Convenience retailers can use social media to engage with their local community, getting involved with local trending topics, and interacting with other local social media pages, such as community pages and local news. This is a great way for convenience retailers to promote themselves in the area, and become a prominent part of the local community.

Store information

Social media platforms are an easy way to provide customers with essential store information, such as opening times, store address and contact information. This is particularly useful during seasonal holidays when opening hours are likely to change.

Content

Content generation is one of the most important elements to successfully target and attract customers via social media. This process can be relatively simple for convenience retailers, with a number of options available to generate content.

One option is organically, using either media tools or the store as the focal point for social media posts, using photos of in-store advertising, products and the general store environment to create content. A great example of a convenience retailer using this method is SPAR Parkfoot, who are active on Twitter and Facebook, creating their own engaging social media content with photos of their products, promotions and store.

A number of symbol groups have significant followings on social media, and invest heavily in content and campaigns. Symbol retailers can take advantage of this, sharing the pre-existing content to promote their own stores.

Nisa is a great example of a successful symbol group on social media, attracting 28,000 Twitter followers and 40,000 Facebook likes, with campaigns featuring varied media such as photos, videos and gifs, promoting offers, competitions and recipes. This content is a valuable asset to Nisa retailers who can use it to attract their own local audience.

Additionally, convenience retailers can look to the brands they stock in store for social media content. Brands spend a significant percentage of their budgets promoting their products through extensive social media campaigns. Convenience retailers can take advantage of this, engaging with their social media accounts and sharing their campaigns.

Brands like Lucozade are extremely active on social media, using the hashtag #Findyourflow and media tools such as videos, gifs and competitions to support their campaigns which encourage consumers to interact with them. By engaging with campaigns like this, convenience retailers can not only increase their exposure to consumers, but also promote the products they stock which is especially relevant for the smaller, more niche product lines.

For more information on how TLM can help your business impress your customers, increase loyalty and keep up with industry trends, just get in touch!

Author: Ellie Prior, Marketing Intern, TLM Technologies

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