How retailers can use social to drive customer loyalty

Suzanne Summers should have used social media to promote her products!

Brick and mortar retailers (and online retailers) do a rather poor job in using social to help grow their own businesses. Several years ago, when you first started your retail store selling dried lima-beans, or used lawn-mower blades, or defunct Suzanne Summers flab-o-blaster-cisers or whatever it is that you sell, none of this social-schmocial stuff mattered.  Times have changed!  And so should your approach to building customer relationships.  Here are some quick ideas that you should incorporate into the retail experience you are providing for your customers.

For Brick and Mortar stores – ideas to grow your social

  • Use in-store signage to promote your email newsletter, SMS messages, Facebook community, Twitter feed, and Pinterest page.  And while you’re at it, promote your website.
  • At the point of sale, ask your customers for their email address.  “If you give us your email, we’ll send you special discounts on volume lima bean purchases!”
  • Offer to send the customers their purchase receipt via email. This means you’ll get their email address.  This isn’t permission for you to start sending them your newsletter, but when you email their receipt to them, you can promote your email list signup form, SMS program, Facebook community, Twitter feed, and Pinterest boards.
  • On your paper receipts, promote all these channels.  Print it right there on the receipt.  Offer a special incentive if they join or sign up for one.
  • Monitor your social channels and answer questions / comments from customers early and often.  And, thank those that commented or tweeted.

For Online stores – ideas to grow your social

  • Send shopping cart abandonment emails.  Today, only 22% of online retailers are doing this.  These can be very effective.
  • Send a personalized email after purchase to thank the customer and invite them to your social channels.  Too many retailers send a thank you email, but it’s not personalized.
  • Monitor your social channels and answer questions early and often

ExactTarget did a great study on these topics

And since you have a retail store, check out how a tiny tavern sold thousands of tshirts with their logo.  The greatest free advertising your retail store or restaurant will ever get.

About Nate Goodman

Nathan Goodman is the bestselling author of The Special Agent Jana Baker Spy-Thriller Series. "A terrorist on the loose, a country in panic, and time is running out..." For a free copy visit the author's website. He's also a freelance writer and entrepreneur.