Future Implications: Going Mobile

Social media is not solely used for reading about what your friends are doing or what’s on sale at your favorite store. The purpose of social media is to interact with others. The brands with the most successful social media outlets make it easy for their fans, followers and fellow pinners to interact with each other.  Brands with successful social media outlets also change their strategies with the changes of human behavior and changes in technology.

One company that has a lot of interaction in their social media platforms is my favorite cosmetic store, Sephora. If you take a look at Sephora’s Facebook page you will notice posts of current sales, new products or online shopping promotions. Fans of the company will post their comments about these products and ask other fans questions about them. The fans also make suggestions for new products or new shades. Today social media users want to interact with each other and show off how they use company products. If Sephora wants to keep up with these changes in human behavior, a good idea would be to implement more contests on their pages. For example, when Sephora launches a new product they could invite users to post a video or picture of they look wearing the new product. The winner could be featured on the platform where the contest was featured. The winner will most likely share the link to the company’s site where they are being featured on all their social media sites which is great brand promotion!

SephoraFacebook

If you take a look at Sephora’s social media strategy you will notice they recently implemented a mobile application. The mobile app allows customers to make purchases of products that are available in stores and online. The perk of having this app is the fact that there are more products available online than in stores. Customers can also see their purchase history, search new products, receive mobile offers with each purchase and they can see what’s on sale.  Customers can also view what other customers are saying about certain products whether it be positive or negative by scanning a product’s bar code.  Implementing this app into their strategy was extremely important because the mobile internet is providing more growth for companies. Mobile apps can increase the number of closed sales, customer loyalty and site traffic. “The fact that the percentage of web traffic from mobile devices now accounts to roughly 25% of all the internet traffic makes mobile devices an important factor to any businesses out there” (Bains, 2002-2012).  The mobile application world is still new which leaves room for lots of improvements.

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Resources:

Bains, M. (2002-2012). The undeniable importance of mobile apps in business. Retrieved from http://www.netsolutionsindia.com/blog/the-undeniable-importance-of-mobile-apps-in-business/

 

 

 

Viral Marketing Initiatives: So Funny I Shipped my Pants

What makes a marketing initiative that seems so silly become viral? Word play. Have you ever shipped your pants? Do you like big gas savings? Go ahead and say those questions out loud then ask your coworkers those questions and see their response. Word play can be an extremely important characteristic in a viral campaign if you want to grab the viewer’s attention. Kmart did just that when they released their ‘Big Gas Savings’ and the ‘Ship my Pants’ ad.

When you shop at Kmart and can’t find a product they offer just ask a sales associate and they will find the item on Kmart.com and ship it to you for free. The advertisement for this feature shows customers saying “I can ship my pants for free!” and a little boy saying “I can’t wait to ship my pants, dad”. The advertisement currently has over 18 million YouTube hits.

After the success of customers learning they could ship their pants, the company decided to make another humorous advertisement and offer customers “big gas savings”. Obviously you won’t find gas pumps at Kmart, customers must go to a company that has partnered with Kmart. Customers will have to go to gas stations like BP or Speedway to receive their big gas savings (Tuttle, 2013).

Another characteristic of a good viral campaign is making it easy to share with friends and family on their social media platforms. If you’re going to have a new advertisement on a website it’s a good idea to include a “share” button for Facebook, a “tweet” link for Twitter, or a “pin it” button for Pinterest.

Another important characteristic in a viral campaign is promoting with the right leaders that people look up to in a group to endorse the product. For example if you’re trying to promote a new golf ball company you’re not going to use a hockey star in your advertisements, you’re going to use Tiger Woods, or other golf pros.

Another important characteristic in a good viral campaign is humor. If an advertisement is funny people are going to want to post it on their social media sites. They’re going to want to share that funny message with their friends and family.

Another important characteristic in a good viral campaign is to shock the audience. The best example for shocking an audience is the Ugly Truth campaign for cigarettes. The advertisement features people that choose which one is uglier: the fact that methane is found in dog poop and cigarette smoke or that urea is found in cat pee and cigarettes?

The key to a good viral campaign is grabbing the viewer’s attention. Marketers can do this by using word play, humor, the ease of sharing the ad with friends, influential people, humor or shocking facts.

Resources:

Tuttle, B. (2013). ‘Big Gas Savings’: Kmart’s funny followup to the viral ‘ship my pants’ ad. Retrieved from http://business.time.com/2013/05/24/big-gas-savings-kmarts-funny-followup-to-the-viral-ship-my-pants-ad/

Differentiation

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While walking through the maze of high-pigmented colors of blush and eye-shadows found in Sephora, you may see a customer getting a makeover by one of their makeup artists. One of the many customers that come in everyday testing the season’s trendy tones to see if they work well with her skin whether it be dark, pale, oily or combination. Sephora’s makeup artists give many makeovers each and everyday. Today I want to talk about a different kind of makeover, Sephora’s biggest makeover to date: a digital makeover.

Sephora’s Senior Vice President, Julie Bornstein wanted to engage customers and keep customers informed on popular beauty trends so she decided to utilize what customers use most which are mobile devices. “iPads are currently being tested in 20 stores around the country as a way to let customers navigate Sephora’s thousands of products, a menu of services offered at the Beauty Studio, as well as get those all-important tips on makeup and hair styling, Bornstein says” (Dishman, 2013).

The digital makeover is supposed to give it a more personal experience. A customer can use their mobile device to scan a product’s bar-code and see what other customer’s are saying about it. They can view both negative and positive feedback about that particular product. One very useful tool (one that I use myself) is the shopping history feature. I can go to my Sephora app on my iPhone, click on purchase history, then reorder a product that I’ve previously purchased. This is very convenient because I no longer have to remember the specific shades that I like, it’s all saved in my purchase history. We’ve all been there, searching and buying the wrong shade or brand because we cannot remember the specific name. Sephora helps us kiss those days good-bye! And we can kiss those days good-bye with our perfectly glossed lips by Soap and Glory’s Sexy Mother Pucker lip gloss (we probably won’t need the purchase history feature to remember that name).

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A major competitor to Sephora is a beauty retail store known as Ulta. Ulta is still new to the beauty industry and could learn a thing or two from Sephora on how to utilize their social media. Ulta’s Facebook page is a similar to Sephora’s where there are products posted for customers to comment on. Customers can comment freely about the different products whether positive or negative. Both social media sites allow customers to reply to each individual comment. Sephora has a leg up on Ulta in the Facebook department. Ulta’s Facebook page does not provide professional Youtube video tutorials which show the cosmetically challenged how to apply different types of makeup.

References:

Dishman, L. (2013) Sephora’s smart social and digital makeover. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lydiadishman/2012/04/09/sephoras-smart-social-and-digital-makeover/

Virtual Communities and Social Media

The social media landscape is evolving at a very fast pace. Business professionals know the importance of social media advertisements and interacting with customers via Facebook or Twitter to get feedback. Virtual communities are also important and have been around longer than most social media websites. Social media “can build it’s own virtual communities and that the business has to interact and work with these new groups. We describe a virtual community as a group of people or customers that come together to exchange ideas and information” (On-line virtual communities, 2000-2010).  Virtual communities allow company’s the ability to see what products are getting the most buzz from consumers and they can alter their marketing approach based on certain trends.

Blogging can also be a useful tool in attracting more customers to a company, that is if they have the right blogger. A good blog will portray some sort of obsession. If the blogger can portray his or her obsession in a fun, humerus or intriguing way, it will invite the reader to become obsessed too.  The blog has to also look visually appealing and they’re can’t be too much “clutter” on the page. If the blog looks lengthy and too bland, the reader may become uninterested or may not be interested in reading it at all! Bloggers that I enjoy following usually have a fun sense of humor and they’re not afraid to make fun of themselves. I also like bloggers that have smart ideas but make their blog easy and enjoyable to read. I know that I’ve read a good blog when I’ve gained some insight about an idea or product and had a good laugh while reading it!

 

On-line virtual communities (social media). (2000-2010). Retrieved November 11, 2001, from http://www.dobney.com/Technology/virtual_communities.htm

Sephora’s Social Media Risk

Social media sites can be a useful tool in getting a company’s name out there to specific target markets if used correctly. When used correctly, the positive aspects of social media sites outweigh the negatives. When deciding to go social each company has had the same fear: negative consumer feedback. Sephora (a popular beauty-retail company) possessed this particular fear even after customers requested the ability to share their reviews on Sephora products online. Sephora customers were already positively rating Sephora products on other websites not affiliated with the store. The company had faith that adding these features to Sephora.com could start improving “site conversion from shoppers to buyers by providing confidence in a product’s results, increasing traffic from online search results, keeping clients for longer durations on the site, reducing returns, lowering call center visits, and encouraging repeat visits” (Ofek, Wagonfeld, 2012).

In 2008 Sephora created their first Facebook fan page. This allowed customer’s to ask questions or concerns about certain beauty products. The Sephora team thought they would have to individually answer all of these questions but they found that other customers were more than willing to share their own experiences with the products. With the Facebook fan page there was one downfall, it left customers with embarrassing questions in the dark. Most girls wouldn’t want to post these questions on Facebook where everyone can see. In 2009, Sephora conducted a survey and found that “24% of respondents said they would be “very interested” in a central place to ask beauty questions of other Sephora shoppers on Sephora.com” (Ofek, Wagonfeld, 2012). This allowed customers to interact with Sephora employees instead of broadcasting their skin insecurities for millions to see.

Adding social media to the marketing mix has helped customers interact with each other and with employees, and has also added more clientele in the process.

References:

Ofek, E., Wagonfeld, A.B. (2012). Sephora Direct: Investing in Social Media, Video, and Mobile. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/download/278383737/511137-PDF-ENG/511137-PDF-ENG.PDF

Pinterest Social Media Application

If a business wants to reach new consumers with their product or service Pinterest is the hottest place to be. In August of this year Pinterest announced they were going mobile with the release of their iPod and Android apps. Pinterest became the third most visited social media site in the country,  acquired nearly 20 million unique visitors and “found that those visitors “spend more money, more often, and on more items” than any of the other top social media sites” (Ong, 2012).

Advertising on Pinterest will be especially effective for clothing retail stores given the amount of clothing styles that are pinned in the Fashion section. If someone wanted to know what was in style for the season all you would have to do is pay a visit to the social media app, click on categories to find the section labeled “Women’s Fashion”. Then browse through thousands of different products. When you come across an outfit that you like you can click on it and it will bring you to the company’s website or another website that will tell you where this product can be purchased.  I love this app because it enables me to find companies that I may not have heard of if I never stumbled upon it while browsing through different outfits. This app will also be beneficial for companies because once a picture is “pinned” you can view how many people have “pinned” or “liked” the item. They can then see which items will be the more popular ones among their customers. Currently my Fashion board has the most pins with 534 pins and I add at least an outfit or two every single day to the board.

Mobile App for iPad

If you want to make a 26 year-old woman’s dream come true steal her phone when she’s not looking, , click on the Pinterest Mobile App, go to her Fashion board, then buy her everything in her Pinterest “closet”!

Resources:

Ong, J. (2012), Pinterest launches iPad, android apps; Photo site goes mobile, Retrieved http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/pinterest-launches-ipad-android-apps-now-facebook-twitter/story?id=17010676#.UI2-n2e_xkQ

Social Media in the Beauty Industry

I have always been obsessed with the famous retail beauty store known as Sephora. But when I discovered Sephora.com and their social media sites my obsession was raised to a whole new level. While browsing the different aisles in the store I usually wonder which product is worth the money? Which one has better color pigmentation? Which lip gloss is going to last the longest? The best way to answer these questions would have been to do my own research and to compare different products. But Sephora products aren’t cheap so this method is not practical on a tight budget. My cosmetic prayers were answered the day that I discovered Sephora.com.

Cosmetic companies utilize social media sites to not only promote their product, but to interact with the customer and hear what your customer has to say. Social media sites enable customers to ask questions about specific products and leave their own personal feedback whether it be positive or negative. All of their products are listed online with ratings and reviews of other customers. Customers are allowed to leave their feedback whether it is negative or positive. They can say things such as “I really like this product, but with my light complexion and blonde hair I would have liked the lighter shade instead.” This type of feedback is very important to me because I match her description. I could go with her advice and go for a lighter shade if I’m deciding between different colors.

When I have a beauty question I like to go to the Sephora Facebook page and a Twitter page where they post tutorials on how to apply certain products and show certain trends of the season http://www.facebook.com/Sephora. If I buy a new product and I have no idea how to apply it I can search for the video tutorial or post a question on facebook and ask Sephora reps or Sephora fans for help.

Currently there are over 4 million Facebook users following Sephora (“Sephora,” 2012).

Sephora. (2012). Retrieved October 21, 2012, from http://www.facebook.com/SephoraImage