Social shopping has come a long way since the “Click to Buy” days of only a few years ago. Consumers can now make an emotional connection with a brand before they buy. Marketing campaigns deliver more reach and a greater awareness than ever before and peer recommendations encourage further sales.

With an uncertain economy, consumers search for more affordable items, driving a different kind of shopping behavior. Comparison websites and surfing for deals delay the impulse to buy in a retail store. Information gathering and reading reviews online is part of the research process savvy shoppers are engaging in.
Today’s shopper falls into three main categories:

• The end user: For them shopping is done almost exclusively online. They shop from home and they use price comparison websites extensively

• The shopper: They walk around town, visiting shop by shop to see what’s on sale. They then use the web to see if they can get a better deal online

• The buyer: They buy physical items in real shops. They may still shop around, but they make the purchase at a physical store. It’s a real experience for them

The challenge that marketers now face is that the power has shifted from the brand to the consumer. The consumer makes the decisions about where, when and how they will shop. Technology allows them to find the best product, the best brand and the best price. It also allows them to build a relationship with these brands before and after they purchase. So, how can a brand pull ahead of the competition to capture those social shoppers?

Brand advocates are key in the social universe. Developing a dialog with these key influencers is essential to broaden a brand’s message, to get it shared and amplified beyond the first connection.

Here are some simple steps that will build consumer connections:

• Remember that every consumer has a very different lifestyle. By studying their lifestyles you will begin to understand how to market to them and know what they want to buy.

• You have an opportunity to provide consumers with timely and relevant
content in the right place – on the right device. Make sure your content is compelling and interesting.

• Social Coupons are easy to share, which means they can go viral – paper based coupons cannot. This gives them a potentially huge reach and return.

• Integration is key. It’s no longer enough to run just a TV campaign. Brand advertising works together with PR, Social Media and promotions to create a mutli-media strategy that pays dividends.

• Cater to consumers, give them what they want, in the form they want, on the device that they want. You have to fit their lifestyle preferences.

Image creditKMP Blog