Christmas Shopping – Look and Learn

Posted by | December 15, 2010 | Business Articles, Social Media | No Comments

For those of you (including me) that celebrate Christmas, this time of the year is one blessed with excitement and worry. It is truly good to give (rather than receive) but that “giving” comes at a price which usually involves trudging around stores or surfing endless sites on the internet. I have done (well, almost) everything I need to do this year but, far from being a negative experience, it has shown me some great examples of how to market goods and services.

I will start off with a brief overview of the high street store method of selling. Most stores have their “sale” which, for the UK at least, is early. Traditionally, discounting goods comes after the Christmas rush when the chances of selling products at overinflated prices is less. Now the sales have come early whilst, alternatively, some goods are being sold “3 for 2” or “2 for 1”. It sounds desperate but it isn’t.

By simply increasing baseline prices, stores can effectively attract shoppers who believe thay are canny enough to know a bargain when they see it. They are not canny and there are no bargains. There are simply adverts – no different from the methods found in traditional advertising haunts (TV, radio, newspapers). The banners proclaiming “70% off” are also working wonders for the stores simply because we forget (in our apoplexy) to see the small “up to” written (as legality requires) before the “70%”.

So, to the internet.

I have no affiliation with Amazon. But I will state – “go nowhere else”. Amazon have built their reputation not on advertising but on building a brand exemplified by good and efficient service. Check out their website(s) and you will find everything you need – a far cry from the books, CDs and DVDs that were the mainstay in the beginning. Now I can buy a freezer, some cooking equipment and a whole host of other stuff. It’s good for me (especially at Christmas) but it is the way that Amazon interacts with the user that has the learning points.

If you have ever considered social media to be little more than Facebook, YouTube and Twitter then spend 20 minutes looking – REALLY looking – on Amazon’s websties. They are brilliant.

Social media works, partly, via social proof. Amazon gives it in abundance. A quick glance will help you to see the way they illustrate what other people bought when they bought the product you are just about to pay for. Look at a product and you will see not only the official description but also reviews by real customers that have bought the product. Look again and you will see the customer rating scale. Good eh? And it is REAL social prooof. It is as powerful as your mate telling you what they thought of a product – powerful, very much so.

Amazon does more. Even looking at a product will present you with a vision of what others DID when they looked at it. A DVD I was looking at just today had, beneath it, a list telling me that 82% of people bought THAT ITEM when they arrived at that particular page. If over three quarters of people thought it was worth buying then I am likely too as well surely? The answer, in this case, was “yes”.

The whole experience at Amazon is worthy of finer discussion. Slick, professional, easy to follow. I have almost every piece of information that I require at my fingertips. I don’t need to Google a product nor do I need to come back later. It is all there and THAT will make me most likely to buy.

Amazon represents one way of using social media for the good of the company but disguised as something done for the good of the customer. Real reviews and ratings will show up the warts. Amazon allows warts – no reviews (that I know of) are censored or edited unless perhaps they contain hate or other undesirable content.

Watch Amazon and follow their lead.

About Mark Clayson

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