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Social media influences consumers
Posted Date 2015/12/30 22:17

Dubai: Social media is faster than anything and it plays strong role in influencing purchase decisions in addition to connect all stakeholders in almost real time.


With the rise of social media, retail in particular is gearing up and adapting their strategies to embrace 'digital' in a big way. Social media determines and influences consumers' attitudes, motivations and behaviours.


"Social media is a format which has evolved quite fast to be at the front of the retail sector's customer interaction programmes. The medium not only offers customers a medium to interact but also to share feedback, both good and bad, with the organisation. This helps in improving the organisation's best practices," Eros Group chief executive officer Deepak Babani told Khaleej Times.


Other industry players also said the world is growing increasingly digital and the retail consumer demands for information, service and support at the click of the social media button - this is not a choice any longer, it is a necessity. It helps complete the omni-channel consumer experience for the industry.


Emax chief executive officer Neelesh Bhatnagar said that the company keeps sharing special deals, offers, new product launches, new openings and events with its followers on its Facebook account.


The UAE telecom operators - etisalat and du - have made it easy for customers to connect on social media by providing social media-related only data packages. Availability of smartphones with starting price of around Dh250 also boosted social media users' numbers.


Retailers acknowledge the increasing role of social media and say businesses can now use social media to instantly inform consumers about sales and the arrival of new products.


Jumbo Group's head for OmniChannel Retail Nadeem Khanzadah said that in today's era, shopping has progressed into a sequence of both online and offline activities.


"Conversations on social media about brands, products, and their features play a strong role in influencing purchase decisions. This is the new "word of mouth", and it's faster than anything we have ever experienced before. What it means is that the retail sector can't function according to store timings. This is 24/7 and extends well beyond the confines of the retail outlet," Khanzadah explained.


Social media has also allowed brands to directly relate to, and engage in a two-way dialogue with consumers. In terms of negative feedback, social media actually allows brands to respond faster and address concerns more proactively than through traditional means. Yes, it can be a double-edged sword, as are all powerful tools, but, as a sector, we need to step out of our comfort zone.


Plug Ins general manager Omar Abushaban commented: "Social media and retail, particularly consumer electronics, work really well together because the real-time nature of social media matches perfectly with the fast pace of our business. Whether it is competitive pricing or exclusive launches, social media is often the fastest, most cost-effective and measurable channel to communicate brand messages to our consumers."

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