By David Muller, Founder and CEO of DCM Fabrication
Think of this piece as a reminder that social media is often the result of, not the cause of, something far more experiential – and, well, social; that the physical space we enter, from that famed house of style to that acclaimed maker of fine leather boots and footwear, is a social phenomenon; it is a place in which the consumer deserves to receive – and will enjoy – a performance, which showcases various products, including fashion accessories laced with a luminescent glow; it is a venue for beautiful displays, and an escape from the everyday stress of reality.
More companies need to unify their social media strategies because the dividing line between the real world and its virtual corollary is no longer as straightforward as it once was.
The cause-and-effect relationship – that what we see on Facebook and Twitter proceeds rather than precedes events that happen elsewhere – still exists.
But the delay between the two is almost no more: Between the customer admiring the shelves, and the salesperson removing the boots from a box of aromatic leather and scented tissue paper, that shopper shares that experience – in real-time, with photos and videos – to his or her friends and followers on social media.
That behavior beats all review sites; because, when you put aside the allocation of stars and the belated posting of some long-winded endorsement or criticism of a merchant, the person holding that smartphone or tablet – the individual acting as an undercover shopper, so to speak, erases the separation between conventional media and social media.
The point is, everything is now social: Retailers need to respond to that fact by inspiring their employees to be performers by designing a platform – the kind that craftsmen build with their own hands – that compels consumers to walk inside, and encourages hundreds of thousands of others to accompany that man or woman, thanks to the simplicity of tapping a screen or touching an icon on a tablet.
Businesses need to invest in displays that convey a sense of character, which will appear on the displays of the mobile devices of potential customers throughout the world.
The medium is, to update a celebrated phrase, the property of the messenger.
Power accrues to what a consumer sees – courteous staff, an inviting atmosphere, strategic positioning of products and the high-quality of the items themselves.
Awareness is the currency of this social situation; it is a summons for retailers to pay attention – to prove, through their words and deeds, that they know you know what this dynamic requires – so the overall shopping experience can be more interactive.
We must accept these circumstances with excitement, not resignation, because this is a time for creativity, artistic expression and imagination.
We must socialize with the public because we are, by custom and the long continuity of tradition, social beings.
We must seize this opportunity before it makes us appear anti-social.
We must act because passivity is not just passé; it is an abdication of marketing, and the wholesale abandonment of promotions.
We can do better – we will do better – provided we embrace these changes, with displays of leadership and leadership focused on displays of power and persuasion.