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Trend Mapping: How the retail sector uses social media to drive sales

Calculating the ROI when it comes to the money spent on marketing and advertising has always been a task too challenging to achieve. Though, when it comes to money being spent on social media, the strategy can be streamlined based on clicks and sale. Kumar says, “Since we are an online store, tracking is supremely critical and easy for us – every single penny spent is based on a calculation that will result in more sales. We have generated close to 30 lakhs+ over the last one year just from our online store which is driven completely via Social Media advertisement. Out of marketing budget, 75 percent is spent online media and 25 percent is reserved for offline spends.”

Kapur reveals the impact of social media on their sales, saying, “All our instore and online promotions are communicated through our social media platforms. Using the right hashtags and tagging our ecommerce sites and stores direct the customers to shop. As for tracking the patrons who visit our website, currently about 70 percent comes from Facebook and Instagram. As in any marketing activity it is difficult to calculate the direct impact on sales especially offline. Our brand still sells approximately 90 percent offline and only 10 percent online.”

Though the very fact that Ayesha Accessories has stopped advertising in print and currently only advertises on the online platforms reiterates the influence of social media for their brand. Kapur explains on this saying, “Since our target customers are online savvy millennials, most of our marketing budget gets allocated to social media initiatives. We used to advertise in print media but have stopped that totally about 5 years ago. Offline we work with in store promotions and collaborations with college festivals etc.”

Malik adds to this saying, “Social media has become one of the key channels for us to drive sales on our brand websites. Unlike the offline spends, online allows us to measure the returns on money spent. We monitor our social media engagement and sales through ROAS (returns of ads spends), while making efforts to improve the same.”

Revealing the strategy in place at BOHECO, Kotak states, “If a customer bounces from a particular product page on the website then we retarget him by showcasing lucrative offers for that product to increase conversions. We also focus on contests and Q/A posts from time to time to build engagement with having ‘Shop Now’ as the Call to Action. So, to sum this up, both the incentive-based system and contest participation go hand in hand to achieve the end goal.”

At Almond House, the team tracks conversions to their e-commerce page rather than using any of the tools to keep a track on sales being generated through their social media presence. “We also track engagement with customers with our posts to keep the brand relevant and connected to the defined target customer segment,” says Panneerselvam.

Not discounting the need for offline marketing initiatives, B-Label’s Tekchandaney still holds the view that digital marketing scores more brownies points owing to its affordability factor, “Judging solely based on ROI, the ratio of our marketing budget would tip slightly on the side of digital.  However, offline initiatives are also important, especially for an apparel brand. More so for us, who are trying to work with a material which is relatively unknown to people. We have to let people see and feel hemp clothing in their hands for them to know and understand the benefits which are unique to our products. However, offline exposure almost always comes at a much higher cost than digital, hence we take advantage of every opportunity that digital media, especially social media, presents.”

Dhanani restates, “I am a firm believer of not putting all my eggs in one basket, I follow the 60:40 ratio, as I feel that social media while important, should be complemented with offline activities. There has to be an equal balance, as the best way to become a loyalist of a product or service, is to experience it first-hand. Offline activities allow customers to touch, see and experience the luxury offerings of the spa which leads to forming an ideal opinion about the brand and also eventually would lead to them becoming a loyal customer.”

FOReT’s Satam on the other hand has taken an active decision to spend more on her online marketing initiatives. She justifies her decision stating, “Initially we started with a 50 percent split between offline engagements and online. However, our analysis has led us to the conclusion that offline engagements should be done only when the target audience is perfect, and the exposure is high. Otherwise, it is subject to only the given footfall and in a certain geographic location. Whereas, the same, if spent wisely on social media initiatives by advertising to the right target audiences could drive richer results and also assists in remarketing to them.”

Sadani of The Moms Co. reveals that about 20-25 percent of their sales are generated through social media channels. She says, “Since The Moms Co. is a digital-first brand, we spend 60-80 percent of our marketing budget on social media and digital marketing initiatives.”

At Red Chief, the total sales generated through the website is Rs 6 crore, out of which 60 percent came only through social media.

Speaking the budget spread in place at Westside, Naidoo says, “Approximately 60 percent of our social media marketing budget is concentrated on content curation. The rest of the marketing spends are segmented between digital platforms and on-ground activities to complement our social media initiatives. Our experience shows an on-ground activation complementing the core objective enhances the social media engagement.”

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