First, it was the COVID-19-related sales spike, which intensified the pressure on engagement teams. Now retailers are getting ready for the holiday season – and the second spike that will come with it.
It’s been a tough year for retail brands. They’ve had to deal with several unexpected issues, from closed brick and mortar stores (and strict restrictions on how to re-open with reduced footfall), creating curbside pickup schemes, and managing a boom in online sales. Social media has played a bigger-than-ever role in ecommerce, with social shopping on the rise.
Now, it’s time to plan for the next spike in sales – this time during the holiday season. Retail marketers are already planning their holiday campaigns, including how to maximize the social shopping experience for customers.
That means it’s also time to plan campaigns on social media, and determine your customer service plan to support retail sales. Here are the key areas retailers should consider when putting together their social strategy for the holidays:
Prepare to increase your social customer service
You’re already strapped for resources, and we know that the holidays will mean an increase in customers heading to your social channels for support. Being ahead of the spike, and providing great customer service will distinguish you from your competitors, and it will ensure you remain proactive, not reactive. (Our CEO, Tamara Littleton, has been writing about this trend since 2018 over on Econsultancy.)
We supported Blue Moon to help them scale up quickly last year: see our post ‘increasing brand love on social’.
You can also find practical advice and the latest best practice on issues such as real-time customer service in our guide to social media customer service
Keep your ears to the ground with social listening
Social listening tools – and, importantly, the right social media insights to interpret the data – will help you understand what people are talking about on social media. This is even more important when it comes to non-owned channels. By using social listening, you can spot an issue, bond with a customer, or go that extra mile to secure a sale. For inspiration, have a look at Starbucks’ Twitter feed, and read how we worked with Primark to help the brand gain insights from social media.
Use the best tools and systems to monitor your campaign’s performance
You need to know how your campaign is performing, and when (and how) to tweak it to maximize all that effort you’re putting into your social media. Using the right monitoring tools, social listening, and data analytics will help you adapt in real-time to get the best results.
And finally, remember that an effective social media strategy isn’t just for the holidays. No-one could have predicted the lockdown, and then the effect it had on retailers. We could see new spending patterns emerge over the coming months or even years, as consumer behavior changes – possibly forever. Working with the right specialists means you can scale up as you need to, and not just during the holiday season.
For the low-down on the big social shopping trends of 2020, see our strategist Michael Baggs’ post “How is social shopping changing in 2020?”