CGM into Retail.

Social media, aka “consumer-generated media” (CGM), come from the early newsgroup days and keep on growing today, rapidly. Traffic in Facebook has almost increased by 200% over the last year, and Twitter has increased by 1500%. And not only the number of users have increased, but also the time spent in these websites.
The secret of this success? Easy! They reach the most “human” emotions and needs: they let you be seen and heard, offers a platform to reach everyone everywhere, allowing to advocate for and promote, brands and philosophy.
Let’s look at the process of “purchase consideration”, with its different dynamics and referents. Before social media, one had just some friends or family to ask for suggestions about a purchase. Today, shoppers have a huge network of even thousand people, even strangers, to share this process.
Let’s look at retailers. CGM gives them the unique chance to listen to consumers’ mind, plus to be active part in this “dialogue” , so understanding their attitudes and demands. Not only, retailers have a tool to engage them transparently, answering their questions or concerns. So this method backs those traditional methods to solicit feedback, such as surveys or focus group, helping retailers to detect consumers’ taste, passions and their discussions focus.
Website is still one of the best marketing tools, but more efforts is demanded towards the expansion of the digital footprint, in order to reach shoppers where they gather, participating and encouraging the exchange and dialogue through third-party tools: blogs, forums, social networks, Facebook or Twitter. Social media can lead to a superior customer service, turning loyal customers into advocates.
According to Forrester Research, almost 2/3 of retailers are already into the CGM thing, another 22% is planning to in the near future. Worldwide major retailers such as Zappos, Walmart or Starbucks are using this social media means to successfully engage customers.