Is Sinking Shopper Conversion is a “No Shit, Sherlock” Finding?

It seems that otherwise very successful retailers are having an effectiveness problem.  Their social media efforts to boost traffic and sales from their mobile commerce sites aren’t working.  Fancy that! The shopper is isn’t converting to buyer at rates the retailers had hoped.

This bears looking into.

The company who produced and reported these metrics supports the mobile apps and commerce platforms for retailers including American Eagle Outfitters, Ralph Lauren, Sephora, Anthropologie, Dick’s Sporting Goods, GNC, Steve Madden, TigerDirect, West Marine, Timberland and Crate & Barrel.

The CIO of the company, called Branding Brand says this: “Many retailers are flooding social media and jumping on the bandwagon, (to get shoppers to visit their mobile sites and apps) but are they attracting someone who will actually buy?”

I have different questions.

1. Who is tracking the target shopper’s in-real-life response to the content being delivered on social media? Is the shopper actually going to the store to buy instead of to the mobile site or is there no compelling content in the social media that is inspiring engagement at all?

2. Is the social media being done on a local basis? National social media trying to drive very market based retail sales has continues to show poor results. Localizing the origin of the social efforts will typically produce better results because shoppers consider shopping a local activity, and they want to talk about it and do it with those in their closer networks, not a corporate social media manager sitting in some office somewhere.

3. Speaking of lack of engagement… is this a “no shit Sherlock” finding? Note the retailers that were part of this “conversion drop-off “study are highly experiential and engaging places to shop.  A mobile experience that enhances convenience is quite different from the pleasure of a self-indulgent trip to Sephora. I can’t imagine the mobile commerce experience having much of a sensory pull like the store does.

There are so many ways to influence a shopper. Pushing social media at them with a call to visit mobile commerce sites may not be what’s even remotely close to effective when  in-store experience delivers on shopper’s desires for interactive and meaningful interactions. At most of these retailers, the shopping experience even includes real humans to help you!

Perhaps the social media efforts of these retailers should be more focused on a local call to action to meet up at the store, to engage in and enjoy the experience the retail brand is known for, not just use a mobile app that’s about price or convenience.  A shopper visit that converts is one that delivers what the shopper craves…an emotional human connection. Someone to help. guide, inform, entertain, feel in community with….. Imagine that, an enhanced shopping experience at retail. Human influence as effective media versus efficient.

In the world of all things digital, perhaps we need to stop and consider human behavior as it is, instead of using digital media and technology as a come-on that doesn’t feel like much more than another efficient spend on a marketing push.

Shoppers can see right through that one-way push, and they ignore it.  Shoppers are hard-wired to enjoy the social shopping experience. I say let’s use more local social media to inspire and empower the shopper to get off the couch and come on back to the store.

What’s your take on it?



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