Topic of Discussion: Social Networking Service: It’s impact on retail/merchandising.
Did it all really kick off with our long lost site Myspace? R.I.P wonderful site, you had an amazing run. Of course there were many other websites before Myspace came into the world wide web, but it’s kind of like asking which one came first with Facebook comparing it to the chicken or the egg question. Okay, not really because you can totally look up the dates when both websites were created, but Myspace really did help start the race for a higher demand for online shopping, higher total revenues for businesses in general, and it also helped expand businesses by allowing them to have a broadened spectrum of customers than they naturally could. People were constantly viewing other people’s profiles and seeing photos of their personal lives which led to a drive in making changes within our own personal lives so that we could post or simply just have the things seen or heard of on Myspace. Meenkashi Kakar reiterates, “Social networking has definitely impacted the Retail industry with the growing concept of ‘social shopping’ wherein one’s purchasing decisions are influenced by others in their communities” (para. 3).
Admit it, you constantly were on Myspace doing a survey, finding music no one had ever heard of, customizing your layout for your profile, taking photos so everyone could comment on them, joining photo contests, finding scene queenz to stalk, finding internet celebrities that constantly Photoshopped their photos and a ton of other pointless things.Myspace was the place where everything was constantly being updated and was a extremely direct way of communicating with people. This was a great opportunity for online retailers to kick off because people were constantly on their computers being ‘social’. Although Myspace has become similar to a deserted island there are still other popular websites such as Facebook, that are now being used constantly that are making a tremendous impact on the retail/merchandising industry using different strategies.
Social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and etc are great places for retailers to actually connect with their customers directly. “Wet Seal CIO, Jon Kubo, says the key to getting results from social media is, customer engagement, which is marketing-speak for having actual online conversations with customers” (para. 2). This is a great benefit for people who don’t have the time to go in store and tell the company their feedback of the item they purchased whether it was a great buy or a bad one. It is also wonderful for people who only buy things online and never go shopping in store, and they can communicate directly with the company this way. “Social media plays an important role in how consumers discover, research, and share information about brands and products” (para. 2). These social networking websites are good for letting the retailers see what is popular and what could possibly sell tremendously, and for the consumer it can easily give them information about upcoming sales and possibly give freebies away. Social networking has definitely made things move even quicker in the industry.
For another example one extremely popular way retailing has been influenced by social networking websites is through advertisements. Advertisements can be extremely annoying because with the internet people can program their website to have pop up ads that will make the reader at least look at it before exiting out which means whatever is on the ad, the viewer will have to read it. It is a great marketing technique and has been proven to be very efficient. Advertising through social networking websites has gotten to be so intricate and highly adapted that people who use the websites know there is no way in avoiding ads and can set their options to at least see advertisements they are actually interested in. On more positive notes, some advertising is really helpful to some people. There is fashion community website called Lookbook that I use to network and be inspired by people that I can’t see daily which has tons of advertising on it. The advertising is mainly to get people to learn about fashion related websites such as online stores, fashion blogs, and etc they have never heard of. It is a good way to be apart of the community by allowing this website to advertise your company.
Compton, M. & Essnay, M. (2011, May). Independent Retailer: Social Media Next Logical Marketing Arena For Retailers. Retrieved from: http://independentretailer.com/2011/05/01/social-media-next-logical-marketing-arena-for-retailers/
Kakar, M. (n.d). Social Shopping: Revolutionizing the Retail Industry. Retrieved from Sonota Software: http://www.sonata-software.com/export/sites/Sonata/sonata_en/innovation/resources/articles/pdfs/Point_of_view_Social_Shopping.pdf
NC Incite. (2011, October 14). How Social Media Impacts Brand Marketing [Web log post]/ Retrieved from http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/how-social-media-impacts-brand-marketing/