Happy Halloween! It’s already the end of October, which means we are really gearing up for the holiday shopping season. We have Thanksgiving, then we have Black Friday. In a world where 96% of the top 100 global marketing brands use Facebook as part of their strategy, it is no surprise that social media will be a huge part of this holiday shopping season.
There are both opportunities and dilemmas where social media is involved. Friends are able to FB and Tweet about a store running out of the ridiculously low-priced large LED TV, which will then tip off their networks, saving people a lot of time as well as not having to deal with the crazy shopper crowds. The stores also have a great opportunity here. They can choose to monitor their social networking pages and mentions and either ship more items to the stores or they can respond directly to consumers and see if they can provide them with another option. Walmart, for example, just launched a Christmas layaway program because it’s FB fans requested it so often. They also added a social feature on their website that allows customers to vote on the most wanted Christmas toys. When customers “like” the toy it is added to their FB newsfeed requesting their friends to vote. If there are enough votes for that toy, Walmart is able to put the item up for pre-order and stock their stores accordingly.
As we all know technology is a double-edged sword. For all the great planning and awareness that it can bring to us, it can also work against companies. One misstep and companies can be blasted on YouTube, FB and Twitter, creating a PR nightmare.
The lesson is to be prepared. If you are planning on using social media to bolster your holiday sales, make sure you are monitoring the conversation and have a plan for possible consumer dilemmas.
For more information, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2011-10-29/social-media-retailers/50981430/1