Retail news round-up September 24, 2013: Sainsbury’s hires Conversocial to bolster its social media strategy; Ed Miliband pledges business rates freeze for small firms

Sainsbury’s hires Conversocial drive social customer service

Sainsbury’s has appointed social media experts Conversocial to drive its customer service efforts on Facebook and Twitter to diffuse social media issues before they hit “crisis point”.

Following in the footsteps of Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, Sainsbury’s hopes the move will help it find and respond to comments from fans, according to Marketing Week.

Conversocial will deploy a platform that pulls in all content from its social media channels into a single feed allowing its staff to see how the retailer’s followers are responding to certain keywords. The platform will cover activity across Sainsbury’s customer service, marketing and technical support communications.

Ed Miliband pledges business rates freeze for small firms

Labour leader Ed Miliband is to vow to help 1.5 million small business in England by freezing or reversing business rates at the party conference today.

The move would target businesses with rental properties of £50,000 or less.

The party says it would pay for this by reversing a planned cut in corporation tax from 21% to 20% which is due to come into force in April 2015, according to BBC News.

Business rates are a huge concern for retailers who believe they are paying unfairly high bills, which is in turn restricting investment.