The list of activewear product lines goes on, and the growing interest around active lifestyles – and activewear to match – shows no sign of slowing. In this increasingly popular market, consumers have a myriad of choices in front of them. The key for these brands and retailers to stand out will be to take advantage of the trend of retail convergence: the notion that e-commerce and the physical store are merging.
Consider the potential internal dialogue that occurs when a shopper attempts to decide which performance shirt to buy. Does it have sweat-wicking capabilities? Does it protect from UV rays? How does one ever know that he or she is making the best purchase? More importantly, how does someone new to the active lifestyle enter the activewear market and make a purchase appropriate to his or her needs, unless given expert guidance and advice?
The activewear market boom is largely driven by Millennials, a shopping demographic that was once thought to prefer online shopping over brick-and-mortar locations. A recent TimeTrade survey asked Millennials about their purchasing habits, and the answers were somewhat surprising: more than 90 percent of Millennials planned to shop in-store as often or more frequently in 2015 than they had in 2014, demonstrating that Millennials still value in-store experiences. Further, Millennials are more likely to book an appointment before shopping than any other age group surveyed – illustrating this demographic’s desire to speak with a knowledgeable associate when making purchase decisions.
The reality is that shoppers do use the Internet and mobile platforms but mostly, it seems, as research mechanisms to help narrow down their choices rather than as a platform for transacting. Most respondents (53 percent) noted that they would narrow their purchasing choices down to two to three products, while a full 38 percent knew exactly what product they were looking to buy in the store based on their online research. However, only 13 percent of respondents have actually made a product purchase on their mobile device. Rather than complete the sale online, consumers look to in-store help for guidance during the buying phase. Leading retailers today are aware of this purchase behavior, and are using their online presence to drive a high-value in-store experience.
The path to purchase for activewear
You’re ready to buy some new running gear. You’ve done your research, narrowed down your choices to the top three brands that have caught your eye, and walk into a retail store to make the final purchase. Immediately, a sales associate is available to assist you, and can give you the specific use case for the items on your short list. It turns out that you were looking at running clothes, and your primary intention is to train outside throughout all seasons – which happens to affect the apparel that’s right for your specific needs.
Your sales associate introduces a fourth option into the mix and explains the merits of this activewear brand. Not only do you like the associate personally – and 60 percent of respondents noted they would be more likely to buy additional products if that was the case – but you have also had a positive experience with the retailer and brand, greatly increasing the chances that you will go back to that store – and that associate – for your next purchase.
For retailers that want to capture the in-store activewear buyer’s attention, there are three important steps:
Most shoppers want a guided experience where an expert sales associate quickly understands their needs, educates them on the options, recommends suitable products and, most importantly, provides the kind of experience that creates store and brand loyalty.
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While $14B is a lot, social commerce still accounts for only a fraction of total retail sales. A recent eMarketer report estimates that in-store sales reach nearly $4.6 trillion in 2015 and online sales will reach nearly $350 billion. At $14 billion social commerce account for a meager .28% of total sales and 4% of eCommerce sales.
The good news is for social commerce is trends are showing growth. The question remains, will social commerce see higher growth in months and years to come.
As you have likely already seen, Twitter began implementing a new design this week that has a major impact both on the interface and functionality of the site. The new look shares many similarities with Facebook and focuses more on improving the overall user experience while making it easier to navigate and filter through tweets.
The most visible area of the latest Twitter upgrade are the changes to profile and cover images. The new cover photo spans the entire header of the profile page and replaces the background image used in the previous version of Twitter. The look is very clean and offers users the ability to focus on a single image for their profile page. In addition, users profile images are larger making it easier to see the individual.
From a functional perspective, Twitter has also introduced new functionality to improve the user experience by focusing on the most important content. The three areas with the biggest functional impact are:
In addition to the upgrades made this week on Twitter.com, Twitter has also rolled out some significant upgrades to their mobile interface for photo sharing. The new functionality has made the Twitter mobile client more dynamic for photos and includes:
Both mobile features (photo-tagging and tweets with multiple photos) will display in embedded Tweets.
Twitter will begin rolling out the new change to Profile Pages to users over the next few weeks. In the meantime, it’s a good time for brands to begin thinking about how they will leverage this new functionality. Here are some tips to help get you started:
Finally, brands can expect to see more changes from Twitter in the not-so-distant future. Just last week, Vivian Schiller, Twitter’s head of new partnerships shook the “twitterverse” by suggesting that hashtags and @replies are “arcane” and could possible be a thing of the past. When asked to clarify the remarks, Twitter representatives had this to say: “By bringing the content of Twitter forward and pushing the scaffolding of the language of Twitter to the background, we can increase high-quality interactions and make it more likely that new or casual users will find this service as indispensable as our existing core users do. And we took initial steps in that direction with the introduction of media forward timelines and in-line social actions in October, and we’re already starting to see early signs that those initiatives are working well.”
What do you think about the new changes to twitter? Are you, or your brand, looking forward to them?]]>
Here are some interesting statistics pulled from the infographic:
The entire infographic is below. I’d love to know your thoughts on the infographic. Do any of these stats and figures presented surprise you?
You will immediately notice that the Yankees, Brave and Rangers (which is a bit of a surprise) take up a majority or the map. Red Sox Nation is also up there as well! However, Facebook notes that there is not a single county in the US that aligns with the A’s, Mets or Blue Jays (sorry to all my friends up in Toronto).
It’s an interesting breakdown. Click on the map to get the larger view. (Courtesy of the team at Inside Facebook)
When I travel, I do whatever I can to get home as early as possible. That means cobbling together flight schedules that get me home quickly. Logging hundreds of thousands of miles split between several carriers is far from ideal, and if you traveled as frequently as I do you would think that at some point I would have picked an airline and stuck with it. Today I have, but it wasn’t until I was wowed by a stand out approach to customer service just a couple of years ago.
It was February and I was off to Tampa, FL to speak at Jason Keath’s SOCIAL FRESH Conference. On this particular occasion I flew Delta Airlines and arrived at Tampa early the morning of February 8th. I delivered the session, spent some time networking, and hurried back to the airport to catch the evening flight home.
On the way to the airport I checked my flight status and, low and behold, I was shocked to discover that I was headed to the airport on the wrong day. My official flight was scheduled to depart Tampa at the same time the following day. As you can imagine I panicked and did what anyone would: I called Delta to sort this mess out. The Delta representative I spoke to told me he could help, but that I would have to stay on the phone with him for about 30 minutes due to a computer system issue. I thought nothing of it and we made small talk as he maneuvered through the painstaking process of rebooking my flight manually.
After some small talk and banter – Success! I was booked on that night’s flight and made it to the gate just as the doors of the plane were closing. The flight attendant had just jumped on the P.A. and told us to stow our electronic devices as I sent out a tweet:
I arrived home a couple of hours later and was greeted at the front door by a very excited 2-year old boy who’s always happy when dad makes it home on time.
I thought nothing of the tweet I had sent until the next morning, when I checked Twitter and found a response from @DeltaBlog:
“To that new baby,” I thought. “How the $#@! did they know that?”
Let me explain what I thought had happened before I let you in on the reality. During that conversation with Delta Customer Service I thought he had collected and recorded information on me in his customer relationship management (CRM) system. The data collected during our conversation allowed him to build out a broad and deep customer profile on me. I assumed that my tweet triggered some sort of an alert letting Delta know I had made a comment. Someone on the social media team saw the comment, pulled up my profile, and replied with a personalized message based on the details in my profile. “Amazing,” I thought.
It was such a stand out experience for me that I immediately contacted Delta to understand what happened behind the scenes. That’s when Delta’s Social Media Manager, Rachael Rensink, shed some light on what actually happened. She told me that the day I was traveling back to Boston was also the day of one of the worst blizzards to hit the Washington, D.C. area. It dumped several feet of snow in the region and caused significant travel delays across the country. Rachael, who was monitoring Twitter that day, was inundated with negative tweets from weary travelers and was doing her best to resolve as many issues as possible. My tweet represented the lone piece of positive sentiment in a sea of negativity. When she saw it, she clicked through to my profile, went to my blog, learned about my background and concluded I must be hurrying home to see my son. She had singled me out and responded accordingly.
Delta’s approach was stand out. Rachael did not simply respond to my Tweet with a canned response; she paid attention and went the extra mile to personalize the interaction. This was a rare ‘customer wow moment’ and a stand out example of a brand ‘paying attention.’ For the first time in years of flying, I was able to connect with an airline carrier on a one-to-one basis, and in a way that didn’t involve sitting on hold for 45 minutes until someone had time for me. This time they reached out to me in a direct, simple, and meaningful way. This humanized the brand’s image, made Delta more than a faceless company and created real brand loyalty with a customer. Since this experience Delta has remained my carrier of choice.
Social media offers the opportunity to create unique experiences like this that lead to lasting connections. This is why using social to stand out is so important. It offers brands the ability to create relationships and create a lifetime of loyalty.
Interested in learning more about how to create lasting, stand out experiences on the social web? Check out my book, Stand Out Social Marketing.]]>
Being a fan of both the Red Sox and Social Media, I was especially excited to find this gem of an infographic in my inbox this morning. It was put together by the team at Sysomos and outlines the social power of both teams. The only area I have some issues with is the ‘Fan Cave’ section of the infographic. The reason is it only accounts for the number of tweets sent by an individual about the Red Sox or Cardinals. I’d much prefer to see a section that highlights the most influential Red Sox fans by not only looking at tweets sent but calculating engagement on the tweets (retweets, favorites, replies), number of followers, and sentiment. Kind of like a Klout score for baseball fans.
That said, it’s still a great infograhic! Especially because, from a social perspective, the Sox have the Cards beat!
Hope you enjoy and #GOSOX!