What does Social Merchandising mean?

Social merchandising is a relatively new term but an important one if you have a retail store - either online or bricks and mortar. What does it mean? Well you are possibly already doing it without realising.

Social merchandising is a new form of social media and one that will directly contribute to your bottom line. It is the strategy of focusing less on driving conversation about your business in general and more about generating desire and engagement for specific products.

It’s the difference between getting someone to like your shoe store versus getting people excited about a particular brand or style of shoe.

Here’s an example:

Bic make pens. Not very exciting but it’s big business. How do they go about differentiating each pen from the next or generate excitement for a new innovation or new release? Well they go back to traditional marketing methods - target audience profiling, collective memory and a good idea. This gorgeous video was the result of a competition that Bic ran through Facebook:

“Everyone has a story to tell. Submit your own in the comments below for the chance to have it turned into a piece of art. A professional artist will bring the most captivating story to life with a BIC Cristal pen. We also turn some of our favourite stories into posts for you to share before we select our winner. Write a story below.”

So the Cristal pen is launched and interactively given the best position in the store (metaphorically) much like you would do using visual merchandising strategies in your store. The competition got a large reach and great engagement and has provided them with a heap of ongoing user-generated content.

In both a bricks and mortar store and an online store, visual merchandising is incredibly important. Presenting products in key real estate gives them the best chance to be seen and purchased. 

But social merchandising is the promotion you can do before your customer goes to your store to buy the product. It’s what you do to create excitement and desire for your product and, therefore, your store.

So it’s really pretty simple. When you have a product or range that you want to promote, create some effective and appealing content for it and make sure you have a clear call to action.

Stationery giant Kikki K is a great example of social merchandising. They do it well and often. You’ll see they create carousels showing an entire range of diaries or planners, they give you the price and they give you an image that clicks directly through to that product on their website to purchase it.
 
Social channels have some incredible capabilities compared to more traditional media. They allow for greater interactivity and the ability to really target your audience. 

Tip: When you’re looking for ways to get people through the doors (or to the shopping cart), pick products or collections that are worth talking about and sharing. Focus on items for which you can build up exclusivity, anticipation or urgency - limited edition / competition / sales etc. These are the products that you can use to get people to leave facebook and enter your store to purchase.

If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch.