10 Apps That Improve Social Media for Retail Businesses
Social media is a very important tool for retail businesses. Based on the statistics, social media is a significant source of sales, as well as a highly used method of consumer engagement with retail brands.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, ecommerce sales accounted for $394.9 billion last year and online sales grew 15.1 percent, accounting for 8.1 percent of all retail sales in 2016. And most ecommerce sales are happening by way of apps on a smartphone — 84 percent of ecommerce shoppers search, compare and browse products on a mobile app or smartphone web browser.
The following applications are used by many businesses, but they offer a specific benefit for retail businesses. Some help improve your social media marketing strategy, while others help your brand to keep a close eye on customer shopping trends within your industry.
Bitly: Long, complicated links don’t look pretty on social media, where shorter is best and sometimes limited by character count. The link shortening app Bitly not only shortens links, but allows you to measure each link’s performance so that you can be more intelligent about your audience. This is very useful for gauging the effectiveness of marketing campaigns for specific products as well as larger collections.
Clover: Clover is innovating point-of-sale for retailers all over the world. And with both free and paid features, from promotions and insights to gift card solutions and multi-location management, Clover has a lot of what retail businesses need for improved effectiveness of their operations in-store and on social media. Clover has also partnered with several other applications in order to provide seamless integration with the POS system.
Hootsuite: Every retail business with an active social media presence can benefit from the organization, analytics, and integrations offered with Hootsuite for business. You can upload and schedule as many as 350 posts at once, building out a content calendar for each different social media network that your retail brand has a presence on. With Hootsuite’s extensive and advanced analytics, you can track your social media ROI in real-time, so that you can effectively adjust your social media marketing strategy.
Instagram: Instagram is a very important social media network for retail brands. It is one of the most popular social networks with a diverse audience of consumers. Additionally, Instagram has a couple of special features that specifically support consumers engaging with retail brands and their products. Like to Know It, for example, allows users to snap a screenshot of products they like, and instantly be directed to where they can purchase that product. Instagram’s shoppable photo tags offer a similar benefit, without the need to download an additional app.
Masterpass: Streamlining checkout with an intuitive and secure digital payment solution, Masterpass is a flexible, omni-channel shopping app that reduces hassle at checkout. In the store, customers can pay with a tap of their device. Online, Facebook has an integration with Masterpass, allowing customers to order and checkout within Facebook Messenger.
Pinterest Lens: Pinterest was one of the first social media platforms to support highly visual product marketing for e-commerce. Now, Pinterest is testing the beta version of a new feature called Pinterest Lens, which allows users to use the camera within the Pinterest app to point at any nearby object, then tap to see related ideas, products, styles and more. For example, users can point at their favorite pair of shoes and find clothing in a similar style to pair for a new outfit. The Pinterest Lens is the next step to making ecommerce even more user friendly, which benefits online retailers’ bottom line.
Polyvore: The fashion inspiration app Polyvore allows users to style their own looks, browse looks created by other users, shop products and outfits, and more. This app makes shopping online more of a community-based experience, since users can engage with others and share looks back and forth. Retailers can use this app to track trends and get ideas for everything from planning in-store merchandising displays, to creating fun look books in an online store.
RetailApp: When it comes to tracking inventory, sales, and key performance indicators (KPIs) of a retail business, it doesn’t get better than RetailApp. This app streamlines the complex data of a retail brand’s operations and performance, from a single store level all the way up to the global business. It improves the brand’s social media experience internally, with features that allow users to like, comment, or request more detailed reports. This makes it easy for a regional manager to collaborate or check-in with store managers to make smarter business decisions.
Wanelo: For retail brands that want to be on the cusp of trends in consumer desires, Wanelo is a fantastic social media app. The same is squishing together the feelings that consumers have while shopping: WAnt, NEed, LOve. Wanelo brings together millions of products from hundreds of thousands of stores, from the top brands in retail as well as independent boutiques. Retail stores can participate by applying to be featured on Wanelo’s Sales Channel, getting their products featured for trend-hunting consumers to find and ideally, purchase.
Yammer: The business operations of a retail store are very complex, and for brands with multiple stores around the world, operations are exponentially more complicated. Effective inter-company team communication is critical for the success of the business, and Yammer is a social communication app that facilitates this. The app supports groups for special projects (or stores), with capacity for easily uploading photos and files to share and collaborate. Yammer integrates development, design, analytics, marketing, press and customer support — all critical to retail business operations.
Improve your retail business by using any of these useful apps to provide a better experience for your customers, attract more business, and benefit your internal and company-wide operations.