Com­pa­nies con­tinue to fine-tune process

Face­book

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - Con­tin­ued from B

er­ing a valu­able use for all the seem­ingly use­less on­line mut­ter­ing: mar­ket re­search.

The re­sult is that when­ever folks press the “like” but­ton to give their seal of ap­proval for a par­tic­u­lar com­pany’s page or make a com­ment on how much they like the leather boots they just bought, they’re help­ing ev­ery­one from in­de­pen­dent­ly­owned small shops to the na­tion’s big­gest re­tail­ers make de­ci­sions about what prod­ucts to stock up on, what to play up on the sales floor and what pro­mo­tions to of­fer on­line.

For the first time this year, one of Macy’s Inc.’s ap­parel buy­ers sug­gested the com­pany so­licit feed­back on Face­book on which col­ors it should stock for “Else” brand jeans in the fall ahead of the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son. Sev­eral weeks later, with about 2,500 “likes” and 750 com­ments, “Very Vivid” col­ors in bright blue, or­ange and red were de­clared the vic­tor over softer shades such as baby pink and baby blue.

The com­pany, which has more than 9 mil­lion “likes” on Face­book, fol­lowed up with an­other poll in July on whether it should carry a “Ken­sie” brand dress in a bird or flo­ral print.

About 4,000 peo­ple is­sued their ver­dicts within 48 hours, and the de­part­ment store plans to carry the flo­ral print this Fe­bru­ary.

Rather than sim­ply us­ing so­cial me­dia to tout pro­mo­tions and new prod­ucts, com­pa­nies are just now re­al­iz­ing the value of mak­ing cus­tomers feel as though they’re part of the de­ci­sion mak­ing process, said Jen­nifer Kasper, who heads dig­i­tal me­dia at Macy’s. In ad­di­tion to mak­ing cus­tomers feel like in­sid­ers, she said it helps busi­nesses bet­ter tai­lor their of­fers as well.

Matt Cronin, a found­ing part­ner of Web Liq­uid Group, a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency, agreed that com­pa­nies are still in the early stages of fig­ur­ing out how to put their so­cial me­dia pro­files to use. Un­til now, he noted that so­cial me­dia strate­gies have pri­mar­ily been about cap­tur­ing as many fol­low­ers or fans as pos­si­ble with­out really know­ing where to go from there.

One hur­dle for ma­jor re­tail­ers is that it’s dif­fi­cult to take the in­for­ma­tion they learn on­line and put it to use while the trends are still rel­e­vant,

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