As early as 2008, networking giant Cisco was well along in its social media evolution. Cisco was visible on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Cisco won Light Reading’s 2010 Leading Lights Award for Best Marketing using social media and shaving approximately $100,000 off typical product launch costs. Campaign statistics include:
- Website: www.cisco.com
- Blogs: 22 external, 475,000 views/quarter
- Twitter: 108 Cisco feeds with 2 million followers
- Facebook: 79 groups with 100,000 fans
- YouTube: 300+ channels, 2,000+ videos, 4 million views
- Second Life: 150,000 visitors, 50+ events
- Flickr: 300+ photos, 400,000 views
With validated network designs, proven products, and tailored partner solutions, Cisco helps retailers build a foundation for a consistent customer experience. Currently retailers are experiencing growing demand for interactive video content, social media capabilities and mobile connectivity in their stores, they know that customers who shop online and in the store tend to purchase more. Gaining visibility into shoppers’ “likes” and usage data could be helpful for store buyers to predict shoppers’ preferences. Specifically, retailers face three critical new challenges:
- “Catch” consumers as they search for products, prices, and shopping ideas
- “Keep” shoppers connected to your brand as they use various devices (PCs, smartphones, tablets, in-store screens) to bounce between channels (store, online)
- Entice customers with experiences that trigger them to buy, and buy more.
Coined by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), “Catch ’Em and Keep ’Em” retailing uncovers a new opportunity—revitalizing brick-and-mortar stores through the introduction of web-based content and virtual experiences similar to the ones shoppers (and gamers) increasingly enjoy online. The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) believes mashops—solutions that bring together the virtual and physical worlds in the store environment—will be instrumental in helping retailers lead this change.
One of the most promising new concepts is Cisco StyleMe™, which gives customers a fun and interactive way to “try on” clothing and accessories virtually. Cisco StyleMe is designed to offer shoppers a virtual fashion mirror for trying on products using the latest augmented reality, mobile, and network technologies.
Shoppers can use gesture-based navigation to quickly create outfits by mixing and matching a wide range of garments from the retailer’s in-store and online inventory. Cisco StyleMe also adds value by providing customers with expert fashion advice and allowing them to receive feedback about their choices through social media and messaging. They can also capture images to share over social media and email, receive recommendations, and purchase products, with or without assistance. Big-screen browsing brings the retailer’s entire online catalog to the customer and facilitates interaction.
Shoppers can enter the shopping experience from any entry point, such as brand name or garment type, and can build outfits and try them on. With image capture capabilities, garment options can be compared onscreen, shared with friends using social media, sent to the shopper’s “digital wardrobe” or purchased.
Retail associates can provide in-store assistance and use a tablet for taking an order, entering shipping information, or managing customer data. Data generated from Cisco StyleMe can also be used for analytics and forecasting.
“The key for retailers’ survival is to reinvent the store by bringing online content into store and creating engaging, personal, and emotional experiences that encourage shoppers to buy. It’s about capturing shoppers’ “feet and fingertips” right in the store with digital content and experiences. We call it a “catch’em and keep’em” strategy, getting both footfall and fingertips from shoppers to drive sales.” – Lisa Fretwell, senior director, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)
Because this experience can be shared in social media (imagine collecting real-time inputs from friends and family on a wedding dress or tux before you walk down the aisle), cloud based security controls such as ScanSafe also helps protect against malware and other attacks.
Lesson for others
Social media helps accelerate and shorten the sales cycle. Retailers have to analyze customer’s desires and preferred shopping journeys to increase sales from cross-channel shoppers. Virtual retail strategy helps retailers:
- Reach mobile, connected consumers
- Increase basket size by offering an extended range of products and accessories in one place, and by offering expert recommendations
- Expert and social recommendations can boost sales conversions. In addition, the abilities to try on more styles, instantly buy online, and ship products to home
- Increase shopper convenience. Maintain consistency across channels and customer touchpoints
- Maintain security vigilance
- Reduce capital and operating expenses
Submitted by : Jayarani Jayaraman, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo
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