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Three Easy Ways Retailers can Act on their Social Data

Retail marketers have more access to social data than ever before.  Last week, JanRain reported that the majority of shoppers (55%) who   log in to retail sites with social networks or email credentials use their Facebook names and passwords. That’s a 50% jump from last year – proving that consumers are more willing than ever to share their social data with brands they trust and engage with regularly. So what does that mean for retailers? Most retailers we talk to are overwhelmed at the different types of social data, the value of it and where to begin.   

To make it easier, we’ve identified three popular social data sets to which many retailers have easy access for engaging their customers and prospects:

1. Product Ratings and Reviews:  Nearly every ecommerce retailer that we work with has product level ratings and reviews integrated into their site experience. However, when we ask those retailers what they’re doing with their data, the majority of them report not using it for CRM purposes.

  • Insights: Ratings and review data is valuable because it tells a marketer not just about the product, but also who is engaging with the product. This data set can reveal incredibly valuable insights to help you identify your most passionate brand supporters, as well as your brand or product detractors. Most of the time, customers that leave a review identify themselves with an email address, making it easy to associate a reviewer with CRM data including customer value, and email engagement.
  • Action: These insights represent a unique opportunity to target and engage customers while accelerating their loyalty and value through relevant offers, cross sell  and up sell ;  or to mitigate attrition with a targeted communication stream addressing their concerns.

2. Facebook Open Graph Data: Whether you are using social sign in on your site, or “fan gating” a promotion with a Facebook Connect login, you’ve got access to a wealth of individual level social data that can help you make your marketing communications more relevant.

a. Insights: When retailers collect Facebook Open Graph data through a social sign on or a Facebook Connect integration, at the very least they are collecting a user’s basic profile information. This data set includes attributes such as first name, last name, email address, gender, location, “likes” and “interests”.  These alone are valuable insights to help identify previously unknown individual level insights. By connecting the email address to your CRM data, you can get even deeper social CRM insights to help you answer key questions like: “are my fans high value or low?” and “are my social customers also email engagers.”

b. Action: Although you can’t just start emailing people that have connected with you via Facebook Connect, if you’ve already given permission to that user for email delivery, the insights resulting from their social profile can help you make your email and site content more relevant.  For instance, if you’re a retailer with many different types of product categories, leverage the customers’ social “interests” and “likes” to help prioritize product content (i.e. sports over art).

3. Social Listening Data:  Social listening data is another data set that most retailers have access to, but aren’t necessarily reacting from a CRM perspective. We often observe retailers using this data more as a PR function than a CRM tool – focusing research efforts on counting mentions of a brand or a product rather than digging into customer insights that drive CRM content.

a. Insights: Social listening data can provide valuable insight into how customers perceive your brand. Their “authentic voice” is articulated in reviews, discussion boards, and forums that can reveal actionable insights about product features, brand perception, merchandising opportunities, and cross sell opportunities.

b. Action: The social listening data set can be huge – possibly thousands of discussions a week – depending on the popularity and seasonality of your brand. Start by leveraging these product level insights to prioritize product features in email, or to make new merchandising decisions based on customer insights. In one case study we conducted for an electronics retailer, we were able to increase prospect email conversion by 60% simply by integrating social listening insights with email to drive product benefit prioritization over standard email content. These insights can also be applied to your site content, direct mail and SEM keyword strategies to drive deeper level engagement.

If you are a retailer with access to social data, it’s time to start connecting social data to customer insights to drive new CRM targeting opportunities.  It’s easier than you think and will likely result in deeper customer and prospect engagement.

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