Social media has rapidly become an essential sales and communication channel for retailers, big and small.

There are numerous benefits to having a consistent social media presence for your retail store. Not only is it a way to promote your product offering and directly generate sales, it can be used to communicate with customers, new and old. It acts as a platform for product reviews, it can boost your website’s performance and much more.

The big players in terms of social media channels are Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more image-driven platforms Instagram and Pinterest. Retailers should consider which platforms to be on to reach their target audience, for instance Pinterest is great for ecommerce retailers. After Facebook, it generates the most online sales conversions for retailers according to Shareaholic.

With social media networks acting as a channel to directly communicate with customers, retailers are able to give their store a personality online and offer ‘fans’ an insight into the people that run it. This helps people warm to your brand – they no longer want a boring, formal purchase journey, they want a shopping experience both online and in store, and social media has become part of that.

Social media can also help to boost your credibility. People often leave reviews on networks and share they thoughts with friends and followers about recent purchases. It’s a fact that customers trust other customers – if they see a positive review of a product that’s caught their eye, it’s likely to boost their urge to buy.

What’s more, social listening has been predicted by Econsultancy as one of the ways technology could shape UK retail in 2015. This is where a retailer monitors social media for mentions of their name (or brands they sell) by users who haven’t contacted them directly e.g. someone who has mentioned their name in a Twitter but haven’t included their Twitter ‘handle’ to send the message directly to the retailer. This is something used to monitor positive and negative mentions from users and engage with them. This is a great way to show appreciation, solve issues and join up your sales channels to offer customers a seamless experience.

Some independent retailers may not be confident using social media for their business because they feel they don’t have the time or expertise to make it a success. At this year’s Spring Fair, we’re offering retailers a helping hand with five FREE and easy to use social media guides.

To pick up your social media guides, visit Cybertill in Hall 5 Stand 5K3 at Spring Fair from 1 – 5 February 2015.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about social media – do you currently use it for your store? Let us know over on Twitter @cybertillretailGoogle+ or Facebook.

 

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