Study: Top five social media trends for retail
SEATTLE — Pinterest will emerge as a stronger alternative to Facebook and Twitter, according to global research and analytics firm Blueocean Market Intelligence. The company analyzed the online data of the nation’s top 100 retailers from September through December 2013 as part of its ongoing study assessing the business impact of top retailers’ social media efforts.
Based on the analysis, Blueocean Market Intelligence predicts the following top social media trends for the retail industry in 2014:
- The traditional shopping experience is evolving as more consumers move online. While the holiday season still provides many opportunities for shiny marketing promotions and campaigns, digital advances have changed the game. Retailers have more flexibility on how and when they approach customers. Last year’s Black Friday was not just limited to Friday – retailers offered deep discounts days before to gain more customers. Increased competition and customers’ lack of patience with crowds and long lines will continue to push them online, away from brick-and-mortar storefronts.
- Pinterest will emerge as a stronger alternative to Facebook and Twitter. During last year’s holiday season, Twitter referrals experienced the most growth with a 24% increase year over year, followed by Pinterest (17%) and Facebook (12%). While Facebook led the battle among social influencers in the online space, Pinterest emerged as the top social channel for “top of the funnel” advertising with its fast-growing referral traffic and higher conversion rates.
- Successful retailers will integrate omnichannel communications. Cementing an omnichannel strategy will continue to be crucial, and online-plus-mobile will equal strong sales. According to the Adobe Digital Index 2013, consumers shopped 40% more from their smartphones this past holiday season than in 2012. Retailers that identify opportunities to create a more a seamless experience with consistent communications across all platforms, as well as improved inventory and transparent pricing, will create a more fulfilling experience for customers.
- Content marketing will increasingly rely on social media to drive engagement. Brands will move away from a one-way content marketing push, instead leveraging social media to drive engagement, timely conversations and personalized customer interactions. However, 2014 will also bring a shift from text to more visually oriented elements such as video and pictures, affecting data storage requirements and even broader types of content. Organizations that want to harness data from social intelligence will need to acknowledge unstructured data and determine how it can be converted and made relevant for today’s business strategies.
- Social shopping will become a reality. Social media engagement has traditionally focused on customers in the consideration phase of the purchase cycle. However, we can now expect companies to launch greater social shopping initiatives by leveraging virtual currencies such as Bitcoins. Social shopping will not just occur on independent platforms, but will be integrated into social platforms. With a quick click, share or Tweet, customers will be able to purchase a product or service, impacting how organizations track their logistics, customer verifications and inventory management.
“In 2014, we can expect to see increased adoption of next-generation, interactive social technologies that will help retailers gain deeper customer insights and identify new market opportunities. Digital marketing strategies will be more holistic in nature to enhance customer engagement and increase sales, not only during the holidays, but throughout the entire year,” said senior VP Anees Merchant.
Medbox names two additions to leadership team
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Medbox, a provider of industry specific services and systems to the medical and retail industries, has announced two senior-level appointments.
- Matt Feinstein was named VP. He will assist the company’s sales, marketing and operations. He previously held leadership positions in nationally recognized companies and has expertise in driving nationwide rollouts of automated retail technology. He served as operational supervisor at Redbox, helping to develop policy and procedures. He was then recruited to take on the role of director of operation at minuteKEY, a self-service key duplicating kiosk company.
- Thomas Iwanski was named CFO. Iwanski is a CPA with more than 23 years of executive management, corporate governance and financial experience, including 18 years with publicly traded companies. He has served as a CFO before for such companies as Wahlco Environmental Systems, Computer Marketplace, NetVantage, Prolong International Corp. and Pacific Health Care Organization. Additionally, he brings to the company 10 years of public accounting experience with the Big 4 firm KPMG.
"As we scale our business, expand into new states and solidify our presence in this rapidly growing industry, it is important to bolster our senior team," Vincent Mehdizadeh, chief operations officer and board chairman at Medbox, said. "These appointments are part of that effort, adding significant experience and proven leadership to our growing organization. We have worked with both Matt and Tom for several months, and they add proven experience in the manufacturing and implementation of retail and franchise related businesses as well as financial management and public company oversight, respectively speaking. We are also announcing our first independent director this month. A name that is sure to impress our shareholders and the public at large and also speaks volumes on how far we have progressed as a company."