Retailers will fail to see a return on investment with social media if they fail to get buy-in from their suppliers, delivery teams and customer call centres, according to AO.com head of brand and social media Yossi Erdman.
Speaking this morning at the Retail Week Ecommerce Summit, Erdman emphasised the importance of all three parties in leveraging social media to make sales.
Referring first to its relationship with suppliers, Erdman said it’s vital AO.com - formerly Appliances Online - gets “manufacturer support” in order to offer customers free appliances in return for them creating user reviews. Supplier promotions also encourages customer engagement with the AO.com brand and the goods it sells.
Getting delivery drivers to understand the importance of social media is also vital, he added. AO.com has achieved this by creating a Facebook Feedback book, which is sent out to drivers every two weeks and features all the feedback made on Facebook about individual drivers.
The book has “made a change” to driver’s attitudes, their appreciation of the power of customer feedback, and encourages them to ask customers for positive feedback, according to Erdman.
Founder John Roberts also sends handwritten letters to drivers who get a series of good compliments. “We took the idea of social and tried to make it as personal as possible, resulting in a return in investment,” Erdman said.
Teaching the call centre team to interact with customers on Facebook has also helped grow sales more than responding via traditional methods such as letters and telephone calls. “Customer service is an important part of social media - you have to teach them to use the language of Facebook on customer queries,” Erdman said.
For AO.com, putting the Facebook header on its website last year led to a higher rate of conversion than simply engaging with customers on Facebook, Erdman told delegates. “Facebook has a very important trust message. When we put Facebook plug-in on our website it boosted the conversion and for a small unknown brand, it helped a lot.”
He added that retailers considering social media investment should only plough money into established channels. “You need to be where you can grow quickly and where there’s a mature platform where you can advertise.
“If it doesn’t have commercial benefit it will be difficult. Focus on platforms where you can advertise and promote yourself.”
AO.com’s social media reach by numbers
1.325m Facebook fans
150,000 views per week on YouTube
22,000 followers on Twitter
81,000 followers on Google+