How to Engage Retail Customers with a Good Blog
"The next five years will bring more change to retail than the past 100 years. In the next 10 years we will not recognize retail as we know it" (Daily Chronicle, August 15, 2012).
The way people get and share information, communicate, transact business and even socialize is changing at a rapid pace. We have started using tools and technologies to capture information, communicate and conduct transactions regardless of the time or place. I now use phones and bar codes to shop for my kitchen and I am sure many consumers like me are doing the same.
These are savvy, skilled shoppers, who put a high level of importance on individualism, self-fulfillment and personal involvement. This presents an opportunity as well as a challenge for small- and medium-size retailers who have personal relationships with many of their customers but also face the daunting task of using technology to increase their reach. In such a climate, every opportunity to interact with the customer becomes crucial.
Why would potential customers be more interested in reading a blog than going to a website? It's the same reason why people prefer entertaining/educational articles over ads. "Roughly six times as many people read the average article as the average advertisement" (Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy). Online customers trust blogs as they are more personal, with consumers sharing their experiences. Shoppers also use blogs to connect, discover, find, filter and try the next new thing in the market. Thus, a blog becomes a powerful platform to connect with shoppers on a one-to-one basis.
What are some features of a retailer's blog that would make it a hit with the audience?
Give Individual Focus to Customers
It is tiring to be at the receiving end of communication in the form of advertisements, brochures, user manuals, product descriptions, etc. Blogs come as a welcome change where interaction is the focus. They encourage shoppers to provide feedback, opinions, reviews and share experiences. You could earn some great brand loyalists just by listening to your customers and using their first-hand reviews to introduce revisions and variations. Petco's blog is a place to share tips and a love of animals. It has many pet owners and consultants in this great community, contributing experiences and advice. www.petcoscoop.com