By David Dorf on Jan 11, 2012
At ARTS, we focus on helping retailers succeed with using technology. Technology can be a competitive advantage, but it can also hold companies back if its allowed to grow stale. Its important for every retailer to stay abreast of emerging technologies, and understand how adoption may or may not benefit the business. Using social media is the latest topic being addressed by ARTS.
The ARTS Social Retailing Blueprint is a 143-page whitepaper that describes the use of social media by the retail industry. It includes ten specific tactics, examples of those tactics in use, and suggestions on organizational alignment. The document was written by representatives from the following companies: 8th Bridge, MicroStrategy, Verizon, Cisco, IBM, Oracle Retail, Versatil, Epson, SAP, Pier 1 Imports, Meru Networks, Red Prairie, Safeway, Criti, Cellpoint Mobile, and Push Science (in no particular order).
Below is my favorite part of the blueprint, a summary of the ten tactics on a maturity scale. Retailers should first determine which of the ten tactics makes sense for their business, then for each tactic there are varying levels of maturity. Retailers will ideally start with the Novice level and grow to the right toward Advanced.
If you're having trouble reading this eye-chart, click here for the raw version in which you can zoom.
There is no perfect recipe for social retailing, so its necessary for each retailer to experiment to find what works for them. Also, set realistic expectations for your social media efforts. Its unrealistic to think you'll substantially increase sales by creating a Facebook page, for example. Social media campaigns are an investment in your relationship with your customers, so give it some time to grow and strengthen. There is great potential for a relatively small investment.