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Social media can be a retailer’s friend in store as well as online

Gideon Lask Founder and chief executive of social commerce company Buyapowa.

If your job title has the word ‘multichannel’ in it you probably obsess about how online can drive people in store. But chances are you have overlooked one potential channel: social.

Using social media to drive shoppers back into stores is much more than just buying ads on Facebook. It’s about getting people sharing exclusive offers with their friends to make things happen.

By leveraging the wider networks of friends, family and colleagues of your customers, you can greatly increase the overall impact of promotions in your store.

Instead of just broadcasting offers, let your fans and followers influence which offers go live in store. Having some ‘skin in the game’ means they will not only be considerably more likely to trudge down to the high street, but they will also rally their friends to help make the offer happen and share it when it does.

One of our most elementary psychological drivers is Fomo (‘fear of missing out’). If Starbucks tweets at 9am that everyone who signs up by 11am will get a double macchiato for the price of a single, it has introduced two hard deadlines: act on social by 11am, and visit the coffee shop today.

What can really turbo-charge these campaigns is adding public leader boards to the web page where the exclusive offer is made, ranking each customer by the number of friends they bring in, and offering extra-special rewards to those who really push customers to your store.

Fashion retailers that have already used the Buyapowa platform include Debenhams, Warehouse, Oasis and Belstaff. For example, Debenhams’ Share to Wear social media campaign in September allowed customers to increase the value of a gift card by getting friends to sign up. Not only did hundreds of gift cards sell out and generate a ton of sharing, but more than 50% of shoppers were referred by friends.

Another example was the Warehouse campaign last year where the price of a gift card dropped as more people purchased them, creating an incentive to share and generating a huge amount of buzz.

Most think social is only online, but in-store shopping can, and should, be social too.

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