The customer experience, part one: social media.

Gone are the days when retail strategy was focused merely on selection and cost competitiveness. For well over a decade, customers have continually grown to expect more, causing attitudes to shift from commodity shopping toward memorable shopping. But the retailer’s reward is in the bottom line: evidence suggests that enhancing the customer experience not only boosts sales per visit, but also stimulates return visits. Over the next few posts, we’ll offer a few customer engagement strategies for your consideration.

Social media.

While newspaper inserts, direct mail, and broadcast are still favored marketing strategies, more and more retailers are realizing that they can’t ignore the tech-savvy Millennials that will soon represent close to 80 million consumers. Retailers are investing in digital marketing that includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and their own websites. If you’re embarking upon a social media strategy, here are three things to consider:

1. Content is king. It may be cliché, but it’s the truth. The very audience you’re trying to attract with social media also happens to be a skeptical bunch, especially in terms of marketing. They have so much information at their fingertips that they can smell a sales pitch a mile away. So if you can’t say anything of informational value, it’s best to not say it at all. For example, instead of posting a markdown on canned peaches, you might post about the organic quality of those peaches or the sustainability practices of the manufacturer.

In addition, your content should be well written. That means you should invest the time to create engaging, communicative, and concise copy.

2. Timing is everything — except the fact that there is no single, correct solution. The important thing is to know your audience — who you’re targeting within different media — and try to adapt to their schedule. Traditional wisdom suggests that the full-time employed have a morning commute, a lunch break, an evening commute, and a before-bed routine when they might tune in to media. But smart phones and mobile apps have changed all that. There is no time of day when your customer is not tuned in.

While an Internet search can yield numerous results touting a magic formula, the best course may be to create a schedule based on what you know about your audience, try it, assess it by the open and click-through rates, and modify it based on what you’ve learned. In other words, try and try again.

3. Drive traffic to your social media. In addition to inserts and circulars, consider a less conventional alternative, the shelf edge. Bacompt can create a program that exploits your shelf edge to its fullest potential with tags and signs that draw attention to social media-based offers and promotions.

Remember, it will always be a work in progress.

Media and technology are constantly changing, and marketers are forced to constantly adapt. Rely on your instincts and your allies. Bacompt can provide shelf-edge solutions that will help you capitalize on your marketing program — traditional or social.