Impact of social media in retail marketing

Retail marketing is going through an unprecedented, disruptive shift. The speed and magnitude with which social media is affecting consumer buying patterns and expectations, and retailers’ allocation of marketing dollars to these new channels is phenomenal. The new media has made it possible to develop awareness and branding and reach a huge consumer base instantly. On the flip side, loyalties can be fleeting and unless brands continue to stay ahead and innovate, they would inevitably live shorter lives. The fulfillment of consumer expectations, in most products, however requires considerable effort in streamlined processes and physical supply chains that do require careful planning and execution. Therein lies the beautiful balance between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’.. What is remarkable is how several ‘legacy’, ‘older’ brands have adapted extremely well and positioned themselves to take advantage of this opportunity – The Home Depot, Walgreens, Footlocker to name a few. The level of presence and comfort these companies have on the Net, in Facebook, Twitter etc is impressive. At the same time, newcomers with the seeming advantages of nimbleness and technology awareness have no doubt realized the need for having effective backend fulfillment processes and systems – Zappos and Toms come to mind. Interesting times indeed.

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