With COVID-19 changing the consumer sentiment and lifestyle, it has also hastened the adaptation of technology in this industry. Being digital and having a robust backend is not optional anymore for any retailer. Every retailer is adopting digital ways at a much faster pace and is investing in technology to improve the quality of service.
The retail sector is constantly changing with new challenges. At present, the biggest hurdle for retailers is how to continue to engage the customer amid the pandemic while tackling a decline in sales. Additionally, keeping up with ever-changing customer expectations, change in buying preferences and customer behavior are forcing retailers to self-reflect on how they operate the business and what they need to adapt in order to sustain their businesses. This is where social listening tools can come in handy, social listening can help brands track customer interactions, be in tune with what the customer wants and drive better customer engagement with real-time feedback. Social listening tools move beyond the top level of monitoring and help hone your strategy with deeper insights into the sentiment, regional differences, and understanding of the conversation.
As per a report released by Hammerkopf Consumer Survey, “Social media usage jumped to 87 percent in the first week of the lockdown period in 2020.”
The digital habits of consumers went through a dramatic change during the onset of the pandemic. Millions of customers seek social media as a platform to voice their queries, their preferences, likes, and dislikes and give feedback. Social media provides a two-way communication opportunity, particularly in having a 24/7 channel to what the consumer wants and engaging them, which can prove to be a goldmine for India’s retail landscape. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why the retail sector should adopt social listening post-Covid:
Gain Insight into Consumer Base: Monitoring and analyzing social media sentiment can help understand the market reaction for all aspects of operations, as it can provide early results to evaluate new products, promote success, and assess changing trends and customer demands that ultimately build brand loyalty.
Enhanced Consumer Experience: Customer engagement is the key for retailers to keep businesses moving. Social listening tools allow you to understand your audience better and prepare or adjust your strategy accordingly. When you engage and respond to the queries by customers, either via dm or in the comment section, it provides accountability with real-time feedback hence helping the brand's reputation in the long run.
Focus on Emerging Trends: Social Media drives businesses in this digital era. Social listening is a great tool that allows brands to track the ongoing trends based on customer preferences, tracking industry key terms via hashtags, and leveraging focus groups at different geographical areas, therefore, enabling brands to strategize their position in the market accordingly.
Identify Key Influencers: Social media influencers drive the maximum amount of engagement due to the number of followers, identifying key influencers that align with brands' principles is integral to drive sales as well as promote brand image by creating positive sentiment around.
Real-time Feedback: Customer service is no longer restricted to phone calls and email exchange. Customers can now voice their opinions as soon as a product launches and give real-time feedback. Social listening helps brands to identify their problem areas immediately and rectify them, thus boosting the brand's image. When a consumer provides feedback on a product, it is important for brands to identify that message and act on it immediately, thus building brand loyalty and credibility.
Social media has shifted the power to consumers by giving them a platform for their voices to be heard in real-time. Not only has social media created this opportunity for consumers to voice their complaints and concerns around products and brands, but it has also created an environment of transparency for retail businesses. Managing customer communication, driving positive sentiment, ensuring the brand credibility for few hurdles that retailers face, and for that, social listening is a great vehicle for real-time assessment for smooth business execution, hence understanding your social audience is key towards maintaining a positive brand identity.