Shoppers Want Enhanced Personalization, More Choices from Retailers’ Social Media

Shoppers are looking for enhanced personalization and more choices in how they interact with retailers through social media, according to a recent survey conducted by NCR Corp., which polled more than 400,000 consumers regarding their experiences with social media and how retailers can better serve their needs.

“Social media is an exciting way for retailers to engage customers and build communities of interest around their brand,” said Sundeep Kapur, director, strategic marketing at Duluth, Ga.-based NCR. “The survey results demonstrate that retailers who present a holistic understanding of their customers and deliver more personalized, relevant offers through social media can open new revenue channels and see a greater return on investment through social media.”

Highlights of the survey results include:

—Consumers want a personalized experience with social media. Survey results showed that shoppers are more likely to do business with a retailer who recognizes them as individuals through social media and incorporates their unique preferences. Every contact a retailer has with customers —from social networking sites such as Facebook to status-update sites such as Twitter — can influence a buying decision. Results also showed retailers that provide customers more choices in how they interact with the brand (online, at the store, in social networks, or through their mobile device), and encourage customization of this experience, can more effectively engage customers

—Retailers need to unify offers across social media channels. Consumers overwhelmingly said they were more likely to respond to unified social media offers from retailers, vs. stand-alone offers. For example, consumers are more likely to select an offer enabling them to identify a program of interest through Twitter, review recommendations from their peers on Facebook, and then complete the transaction through the retailer’s Web site, rather than selecting an offer of an online coupon on a retailer’s Web site

—Nurturing online communities adds credibility. Consumers want to interact with their peers through communities of interest or social networking sites and look to retailers to facilitate this, saying that the ability to view real customer feedback (both positive and negative), including product reviews, added significant credibility to a retailer’s social media marketing programs

—Put experts online and respond quickly. The ability to interact with domain experts was also a major perceived benefit. Many respondents said that the ability to interact with experts and obtain fast and knowledgeable support was a major decision in where and how they shopped. Consumers also expect retailers to listen to feedback provided through social media channels and respond sooner, such as when shoppers report a negative experience in the store or a bad link online

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