Your Reviews on Social Media can now Reward You

Your Reviews on Social Media can now Reward You
Image credit: Shutterstock

Many people and industry analysts believe that brick and mortar retail stores can no longer be successful with our current economy. There is a belief that the millennial population as well as other busy working individuals would prefer to shop online. However, there have been some mechanisms at play that may contribute to partially reversing this situation. Kanye West and Justin Bieber shut down major streets in SoHo New York thisSpring 2016, selling out entire pop-upshops (short term retail locations) in hours.  Once the location was shared on social media, it took even less time to accumulate more customers than there was available merchandise. While these examples aren’t comparable to the current state of brick and mortar retailing in the US, we do see some mechanisms at playthat get store traffic, create demand, and drive sales. 

If these two powerhouse recording artists can bring shoppers to retail, why are we hearing that retailers like Macy’s, JCPenneyand Sears are all feeling the hurt right now? Shoppers are visiting stores less, buying more online, and saving where they can. But they are still buying: In fact in 2016, Americans spent the most money at retail, ever, according the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).  A large reason for the success of those pop-up shops is due to the social component. How did so many fans know about these pop-up shops and their wares? As soon as it hit social media, the fans came running to scoop up some gear. Social currency is everything these days, and knowing where the hottest (INSERT TREND) is at, in that moment, makes all the difference. As a side note, mine would be Tacos and Baseball, which are likely my most shared moments. Even more powerful is the moment you can celebrate with your network of friends on social media – as if to say look at the experience I just had. And surely you’re the envy of many.

We are addicted to our smartphones, with three-quarters of mobile users preferring these devices according to comScore. More than half of shoppers have the phone right in their hand when they’re shopping at retail. This is consistent across Millenials and Moms, who are two key segments of retail consumers and those influenced by factors such as social, word of mouth, and promotions.  Traditionally advertising has looked to create this same type of social influence. Show fantastic and inspiring Madison Avenue developed content, reach your target consumer, and a percent will become customers. Hit them over and over with the message. We argue about which medium is the most effective advertising tool, but we know word of mouth is the strongest by far.  Social not only generates a brand message, but can help spread the word, fast!

Apps like (sounds similar to selfies) which gives users rewards and incentives when they share pictures and videos encourage the inclusion of brand promotion using organic social media’s power. Users are more likely to try/buy from retailers advertising on the app, as they share pre-vetted deals that are relevant to their interests. The beauty of sharing is so powerful that we want to experience it again and again.  The goal is to unite the experience of sharing moments with friends, while giving users something in return. Rewards are offered from brand sponsors that can help you a little more at retail. There are free and discounted products for users. Instead of just a review share on social media, we can get something in return for our content. In exchange, brands and retailers are giving us more access to their products and promotions so we can continue building new experiences.

We are fueled by experiences, from going for a run, to seeing a movie, to music festivals, going to the mall, visiting with friends. There are so many things we want to see and do, and there is so much we want to share. Retailers can attract customers to their stores by joining in on the social experience. This will make it easier to be social in-store, to have more conversations directly with shoppers on social media, and to offer valuable rewards that get shoppers to visit and buy. Such apps provide a platform for shoppers and retailers, without becoming a giant billboard or advertisement that hurts the social experience.