When it comes to non-traditional marketing, North American retailers have mostly cottoned onto hosted social networking sites (75%), but are far less likely to have implemented other strategies such as SMS (40%), 2D barcode scanning by customer smartphones (30%), and location-based social networking (29%), details Boston Retail Partners [download page] in a January study. The results also show that many retailers aren’t interested in blogs: 42% have no plans to implement their own hosted blogs, and 39% won’t monitor external blogs.
The researchers point out that the percentage of retailers hosting their own social networking sites has risen slightly from last year, while the proportion monitoring external sites has fallen. By “controlling their own destiny” on social media, retailers are more able to “react quickly to any issues that may occur and more readily reward loyal customers.”
Customer Service Most Important to Retailers
Perhaps retailers will cotton onto the trend of using social media not just for marketing but also for customer service. Given a list and asked to identify the items by importance, a leading 86% of respondents rated customer service as being very important to their organization, ahead of efficient processing at the register/speed of service (64%), employee product knowledge (50%), and in-stock position (50%).
About the Data: The Boston Retail Partners data is based on a survey of more than 500 top North American retailers conducted in October through December of 2012. Close to two-thirds of the respondents to the 14th Annual POS Benchmarking Survey are in the specialty category.