This could sound
harsh and inflated but the proof is in the 
latest report compiled
by WhySatisfy. It analysed the performance of SA retail companies online and on
social media in Q3 2017 based on their following: share of voice, and
conversation sentiment.

Quality vs quantity


You’ve probably heard most of the biggest SA online retailers go on about how
customer acquisition is their focus. It’s all about getting as many new
customers’ details as they can because they can then flood them with marketing
material later. Is having a large audience that is not actively engaging with
the brand better than a smaller, much more engaged one? Is this numbers game
really worth it in the long run though when it comes to brand loyalty and
profit? 

Free loyalty programmes are a popular choice for retailers to use as it poses
little risk for consumers to join and therefore appeals to a wide audience.
Problem is that they have now trained customers to wait for discounts. So not
only do they not get any value add when customers join the free loyalty
programme (a.k.a. ‘margin killers’), they will actually cost money in the long
run while customers wait dormant until the next sale or discount coupon to
arrive in their inbox. Retailers are not rewarding brand loyalty, they are
rewarding membership. 


Retailers are also trying to gain customers by relentlessly offering rewards
through contests and competitions which does create buzz and contributes to
their share of voice online, but more detrimentally creates a following of
serial competition chasers that don’t actually value the brand. 

“Contests don’t build loyalty to the brand. They build loyalty to the
prizes.” 

Pick n Pay seems to be doing something right as they have the greatest
following, the most active social audience and the best-performing content.
This is not surprising though as it all stems from, and is supported by, their
unwavering core values of providing customers with what they need – quality
goods at affordable prices, with good before, during and after sales customer
service. 

The key then to owning a genuine share of voice online and building an audience
of value is in the content! Creating and using content effectively, to fulfil
specific objectives, is in-depth and multi-faceted, with many brands still
missing the mark. To help delve a little deeper, here’s what Joe Steyn-Begley from Mark1 Media
thinks… 

“Brands have to design content with specific platform objectives in mind. And
together with designing for specific objectives, you need to advertise for
specific objectives. It doesn’t help you try to drive sign-ups for a Black
Friday newsletter and your promotion objective is set to create awareness. It
seems straightforward but still, so many companies get it wrong. My suggestion
would be to revisit the objectives you can set on Facebook, decide on the
specific format and work things backwards from there.” 

Are you relevant
though?


The next important layer is the promotion of the content, especially considering
the anticipated launch of Facebook’s alternative News Feed – Explore.
Promoted content campaigns need to be thoughtfully targeted, completely
relevant to the target audience, fit the platform seamlessly and remain
authentic to the brand. Unless you have enormous budgets to play with, using
broad demographics in your targeting is like your message being a drop in a
vast ocean. Rather use the platform’s unique targeting abilities and focus your
messages to the interests of your target audience.
Of those who take part in conversations about retail online, the core interest
groups are: family and parenting, business and music. Also, topics that
customers feel strongly about and that always stand out are: corporate social
responsibility (CSR), online shopping and price. The SA retail audience has
almost a 50/50 gender split, showing that the old ‘women love shopping’
stereotype is dying. Why not use all this knowledge and more to engage with
your audience in a more meaningful way that will increase its
performance? 

Success in retail is still rooted in doing everything you can to ensure a great
customer journey – bend over backwards if you have to! If you’ve cracked this
then the rest will follow. Get those glowing reviews and recommendations on
social media to combat any irritable customers complaining. 

Retailers are at the mercy of social media in that way as consumers are quick
to use this platform to moan about poor quality or bad service. That being
said, any retailer can convert negative sentiment into positive with a solid
and streamlined customer care plan.

Click here to
download the full WhySatisfy report
.

 

Source: Bizcommunity