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Retail and Social Media: 5 Trends to watch in 2011

1. Mobile & Location based services

Mobile is the obvious fit to retail. It has always been the platform to deliver relevant, timeous information where and when the user requires.  It wields the power to influence the buying decision as and when it happens.  It’s the “WHERE” that, in the past year or so, got a major boost with the proliferation of location based services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places.  Now users are able to not only see which stores are within their immediate vicinity, and access essential information, but also “broadcast” or “announce” their location to friends.  Starbucks and Coke are but two of the brands that looked to utilise location based services last year – targeting consumers in a way that is contextually relevant.  As smart phones gain traction and become cheaper, expect in-store discounts, and rewards for frequenting retail outlets to become the norm.

2. The Editorial approach

Sites such as the Daily Candy have been showing the way when it comes to creating content around product, approaching it with the style, the tone and authority of a BFF. Now Target has teamed up with the Daily Candy team to showcase their products in a similar fashion, with Red Hot Scoop. Sites such as https://www.net-a-porter.com/ are also showcasing a-list celebs and their favourite  designers  in magazine style, and, together with  https://www.boutiques.com/, it seems that the editorialisation of fashion retail has come into full swing.

3. eLoyalty

The power of Social Media for any retailer is the opportunity to talk to your buyer base and develop a real relationship with them – ultimately gaining their input, and retaining their loyalty. By closely  integrating Social Media channels and mobile technologies, marketers can now finally bridge the gap between the moment of purchase and ongoing engagement.

4. Group discounts

Groupon has shown the underlying opportunities of collective buying, marketing to large , targeted groups, by providing massive discounts from participating retailers when communities of consumers band together. Following hot on the heels of the launch of local hopefuls Eishcoupon and Skoop, is the news ofGroupon buying out local competitor Twangoo.  Also joining is. Watch this space, It’s about to get busy…

5. Flash Sales

The mouthwatering prospect of a sale is what keeps any true shopaholic going. Enter Flash Sales – Shorten the sale to an hour, offer irresistible discounts,  add real time announcements via Twitter or SMS, and you’ve set the scene for sale frenzy that’s sure to go viral. Concepts like these have proven to be addictive and a real buzz creator. With the combination of social media and mobile anyone can get up to the minute notification of the action as and when it happens.