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NRF: Social Media Can Help Engage Customers

NRF: Social Media Can Help Engage Customers

NEW YORK  — Retailers who engage their customers effectively using social media can leverage those customers as brand ambassadors who augment the retailer’s marketing efforts, according to presenters at the National Retail Federation’s 101st Annual Conference and Expo here.

“There’s a lot you can do to generate customer engagement,” said David Gilboa (left), co-founder and co-chief executive officer, Warby Parker, an online eyeglass store.

Among the social media strategies Warby Parker has tried include posting brief video responses to questions posed by customers on Twitter. Such responses — which Gilboa said don’t take much longer to put together than typed responses — tend to be heavily re-Tweeted and generate an 850% increase in Twitter followers during the hours after a video response is posted.

Although none of the presenters were food retailers, there were definitely some tips and advice from the presentation that grocers could learn from.

Another social media initiative Gilboa’s company tried was encouraging customers to post photos of themselves wearing the company’s free trial frames — customers can try five frames for five days for free — on its Facebook page. The effort resulted in more than 12,000 photos being posted.

“Buying glasses is a social activity,” Gilboa said, noting that people often bring friends into eyeglass stores to shop. This effort was an online manifestation of that aspect of the buying process.

Similarly, American Eagle Outfitters ran a four-week back-to-school photo contest in which both customers and employees were encouraged to post photos of themselves wearing the company’s clothes. Participants posted 80,000 photos in that time, and the photos receives about 500,000 votes.

Customers spent a total of 40 years’ worth of time engaged with the site during the four-week period.

The company was also a launch partner with Google Wallet and leverages that technology to allow customers to upload offers onto their cell phones in the stores by tapping signs with their phones.

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