Lithium: Sephora and Amazon Are Top Performers When Engaging With Consumers on Social Media

Lithium Technologies published on November 7 the findings of its State of Social Engagement 2016 study for the retail industry that looked at how well Fortune 1000 retail brands are engaging with consumers across social platforms.

The results show "that the retail industry did well in interacting with their consumers, providing insights into the products they sold, posting content about getting the most from those products and often linking to promotions that can drive sales."

The Retail edition of The State of Social Engagement 2016 rated eight Fortune 1000 brands – Sephora, Lululemon, Target, Nike, Amazon, Walmart, REI, and The North Face – across branded online communities as well as five of the most popular social channels used by consumer brands to engage with customers: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. Altogether, the report examined eight industries: Retail, Telecom, Consumer Products, Travel & Hospitality, Financial Services, Media, Technology and Pharmaceuticals.

"The stakes are higher than ever for retailers this holiday season," Lithium’s press release argued "with the National Retail Federation estimating that holiday sales will increase to USD 656 billion this year." The study overview further argued: "As retail brands seek to garner attention from consumers during the holiday rush, it is crucial for them to engage, listen and respond to customers on social media. In fact, Twitter found that customers are willing to spend up to 20% more with a brand if that brand responds to their social media activities."

The reported ranking of average response times (Twitter):

- Sephora – 62 minutes

- Lululemon – 132 minutes

- Target – 212 minutes

- Amazon – 220 minutes

- Walmart – 1,710 minutes

- REI – 1,655 minutes

The reported ranking of average response times (Facebook):

- Amazon – 76 minutes

- Sephora – 87 minutes

- Lululemon – 87 minutes

- Target – 333 minutes

- Walmart – 496 minutes

- REI – 1,132 minutes

According to Lithium, the study "unveiled the tactics retail brands are successfully using on social media:"

- Amazon and Sephora were at the top of the rankings with the highest engagement on online communities, strong visual storytelling, appropriate use of each social channel and content integration across channels.

- Target performed well in co-creating content with influencers.

- All eight brands surveyed leveraged Instagram for visual storytelling, with The North Face and Sephora doing so most successfully.

- The majority of the eight retail brands surveyed focused their content on converting, persuading and support. Sephora and Target both had the most “convert” content – defined as linking to a microsite where the consumer can make a purchase or learn where to buy.

Katy Keim, CMO of Lithium Technologies, commented: "With the holiday rush right around the corner, it’s a crucial time for retail brands to ramp up their social strategy. The results of our study show that the brands responding to customers quickly and creating personalized experiences on social to guide their purchases do well in boosting customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately, sales."

The full report is available here (behind a registration wall).

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