Social media has become a critical part of the gift-giving experience, as a platform for ideas, validation for purchases, and to share the story behind the gift.
Research from the female-focused marketing firm She-conomy finds Facebook and Instagram critical components to reaching the female audience. Over 60 percent say Facebook is the most important and useful social media channel to research retail, and the place women go to before visiting a store or website.
In fact, 80 percent are more inclined to purchase from you if they find a credible Facebook page, cites Stephanie Holland, author, speaker and founder of She-conomy, in a recent Plumb Club webinar on female self-purchasers. But she says it’s becoming more challenging to navigate. “Recent updates to Facebook and Instagram algorithms will have a major impact on who sees your content now. While valuable content is still important as is engagement, Facebook is forcing more ad-driven space to capitalize on the social media arena.”
Women resonate the most with communication mediums that allow them to have a conversation and deepens engagement over time, says marketing consultant Andrea Hill of the Hill Management Group, in the recent Plumb Club webinar with Holland. “Everyone loves a pretty picture, but women respond even better to dialog. It’s why getting all those comments on Pinterest pins and Instagram posts works for women. Offer marketing that creates an ongoing connection, one that lasts between times, and not just when selling.”
Social proof really matters to women, Hill says, because even if women go shopping alone, it’s a team activity. “Women want to know what their friends and family think and share their discoveries. When your marketing is linkable and sharable, you help women build confidence, and make it easy for them to solicit input from their communities.”
Your customers are your best advocates, cheers Theresa Namie, merchandise manager for the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based manufacturer, Ostbye. “And, social media is the ideal platform to show off your clients with your jewelry and tell great personal stories!”
Allison Peck for the NYC-based jewelry manufacturer Color Merchants reminds retailers that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but rather capitalize on the communications tools that their vendor partners can provide. “One of the ways Brevani is helping retailers deliver the experience consumers want, is by sharing fresh social media content to engage ongoing conversations.”
Part of that is celebrity driven, as Color Merchants capitalized on with its Brevani brand as the featured jewels adorning the 2019 Bachelorette Hannah Brown, during its most recent season of this reality TV show.
Watch brands like Citizen and Bulova also enjoy great success tapping into important celebrity alliances that represent their brand philosophies — Citizen has many relationships with athletes in the sports world, while Bulova has partnered with the music industry through the Grammys. Both watch brands also report that social media outreach is an important tool for customer service.
Retail market consultant Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts, Montgomery Village, Maryland advises retailers be wary of the gift buyer who comes in with an Instagram picture and says, “she likes this”.
“In many cases, that post doesn’t necessarily help in finding the perfect gift at all,” Peterson says. “Our instinct is often to either go off in search of that exact item or to tell the customer “…we don’t have that exact ring, but…” after which nothing else they say matters. The scary part is that even if you have the exact item, it may not be exactly what the recipient wants. It’s likely she’s never seen the piece in person or tried it on. It may be too big, too small, or any number of ‘too’…”
She suggests sales professionals ask what the recipient likes most about the style pictured, and also to share more about the person receiving the gift. “If the answer is as simple as she loves XYZ designer and this is the ring she’s wanted forever, then either sell it if you carry the brand, find a way to get it for the customer, or refer them to someone who has it,” Peterson advises. “If the answer is that she likes amethyst and mentioned liking the stone set like the one in the image, and she’s a 3rd grade teacher — you have a lot more valuable information to work with and can offer a number of design options that fit the bill.”