How Retailers Can Inspire More Social Activity from Shoppers

What’s the one thing eCommerce sites like Amazon and Alibaba can’t offer shoppers that brick-and-mortar retailers can?

You probably guessed it: Amazing, real-world experiences — meaningful interactions in the physical world that drive excitement, engagement and recommendations. Research shows that experience does, in fact, influence buying behavior. Seventy-three percent of consumers rate experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.

Retail stores and shopping centers alike have an incredible opportunity to better understand their customers by encouraging conversations on social media.

Experiences can also trigger more word-of-mouth marketing from shoppers. When someone has an awesome experience at your property, they’ll likely post about it on social media and create a ripple effect by sharing it with friends and followers. That’s free, authentic marketing that organically elevates your brand. After all, a friend’s social media post about a brand is much more influential on purchasing decisions than a post from the brand, itself.

So, social media content posted by shoppers while they’re at your property is good for business.

And the more interesting experiences you create for shoppers, the more inclined they’ll be to document and share the experiences with others via social. But how can you encourage more social activity from shoppers without breaking the bank trying to build extravagant experiences?

We’ve got your back. Here are a few cost-effective, easy-to-implement experiences for your retail location.

1. Host live performances

Entertain shoppers with live performances on location. This doesn’t have to be a huge production — simply hire a string quartet or an acoustic guitarist to play crowd-pleasers like classic rock, oldies or top 40 hits in your common area. You can even host themed events, like “Beatles Night” on certain days of the week. And music isn’t the only live performance you could try — consider bringing in an artist to create something right there at your property, a comedian or even a dance group.

2. Incorporate elegant lighting

Whether it’s monofilament light bulbs, vintage light fixtures or intricate chandeliers, elegant lighting offers the perfect opportunity to Instagram a location. Elegant not really your style? Go funky with neon signs or calming with sensory mood lights. Even something as simple as hanging string lights from the trees in your courtyard can give the space a magical glow.

3. Create an “Instagram your adventure” guide

Think of this as a short guide of DIY Instagram moments in and around your property that you can offer in the form of an app, brochure or even email. Share instructions for how to find the most photo-worthy spots at your property and how to get the best shot (i.e. “Stand at the fountain, face West and look up toward the ceiling”) or create optical illusions (such as holding a giant object). Get creative! This is your chance to showcase a historic or recently updated part of your property.

4. Include interactive elements

Find ways for shoppers to interact with their surroundings, like placing decals on a wall or finding a statue that gives your customers wings. Use chalkboard paint or whiteboard walls around your property to let visitors get creative. Encourage them with a prompt to write or draw something specific, then create a hashtag around the experience and tell them to post a picture of their contribution on social. Another option is to decorate a metal wall with magnet letters.

5. Utilize location-based marketing

A location-based marketing platform can build geofences around specific locations, then use machine learning to surface all people posting publicly from these locations (regardless of whether or not they have hashtags or @mentions). This helps you understand what your shoppers are most interested in, so that you can create activations or campaigns around the topics they enjoy. For example, if your guests post a lot about cosmetics, build a campaign focused on beauty.

Retail stores and shopping centers alike have an incredible opportunity to better understand their customers by encouraging conversations on social media. These are just a few ways to do that; grab your complimentary copy of our most recent eBook for many more: 29 Ways to Increase Customer-Generated Social Content On Location.

Innovative retail brands ?️ like Brookfield Place and Westfield use geosocial data — created by shoppers on location & surfaced from HYP3R’s location-based marketing platform — to engage and analyze customers in delightful ways never thought possible. Click here to learn how.

Joseph Lage
Author Joseph Lage Director of Growth Marketing