With the explosion in communication technology through mobile devices‚ tablets and applications more and more consumers are willing to share information with each other online‚ and also with their favourite retailers and brands‚ a survey by IBM revealed on Thursday.
This means that companies now need to influence people to influence people‚ which to a large degree can only happen through the harnessing of digital media.
“The speed of technology innovation‚ consumer adoption and access to information has created an environment where everything is known and the consumer is truly the one in power‚ coalescing around shopping communities of ‘we‚’” says Jill Puleri‚ Global Retail Leader‚ IBM Global Business Services.
Increasingly‚ savvy retailers are responding to this and using technology to make sure interaction with customers is spot-on‚ based on individual preferences‚ location and lifestyle.
Both Woolworths and Pick n Pay actively engage with customers on Facebook and Twitter.
In the financial services sector‚ FNB’s social media strategy aims to build sustainable relationships with customers.
“Its quiet innovative that banks and insurers follow their clients on social media. They are doing so to try and understand the trends‚ to see what customers are thinking and spending on‚ with the view to come back into their organisations and asking what products and services they need to adjust‚” Colin Daley‚ Associate Director for Advisory Services at Ernst & Young says.
Gerard Dumont‚ IBM SA Retail Sector Lead believes there’s a big opportunity for retailers to engage within these technologies.
“Mature markets have fairly developed internet economies and online shopping capabilities‚ whereas in growth markets these areas are less established. The uptake of social media through devices by younger generations and the growing middle class in growth markets means that social media is leapfrogging this lag they have in the internet gap‚” Mr Dumont said.
According to Derek Engelbrecht‚ Retail and Consumer Products Sector Leader at Ernst & Young‚ people are now far more trustworthy of recommendations made by extended groups of friends and acquaintances on Facebook and Twitter than they will ever be about a marketing brochure or print or broadcast media.