Seven tips for retailers wanting to survive a tough spring

11 tips for surviving a tough Q1

It's not just the athletes in Sochi who are suffering a chilly time of it; worldwide retail's undergoing a serious cold snap following icy sales and frosty forecasts. So, what are you going to do to survive what's set to be a pretty brutal Q1?

Well, as the St. Bernard dogs of retail, we've pulled together seven easy-to-implement tips and strategies to keep the wolves from your door and the icicles off your nose. All of these activities can be implemented within weeks, not months, and if you follow our advice we'll guarantee you a positive outcome.

There. That's better already, isn't it?

1. Experiment, experiment, experiment

Same-old-same-old just doesn't cut it anymore. Just look at the retailers who had a bad Christmas this year - they all relied on tedious old tactics like generic across-the-board discounting thinking that what worked in the past would work in the present. The ones who thrived (John Lewis, Next, Ted Baker, Ryman) were the ones who didn't even discount at all but, instead, tried new, engaging tactics to capture the public's imagination. The trick is not to spend months and months over-thinking your experimetns but just to start doing and learning_. _As Dell's

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Sorry, Hubspot. Social media is NOTHING like sex.

Social Media Is Nothing Like Sex

I just stumbled upon an old blog post from the fine ladies and gentlemen at Hubspot, trying to convince me that Social Media Is A Lot Like Sex.

It's not. And here's 10 reasons why...

  • Social media is all about doing it in public.

  • 57% of marketers have acquired customers via blogging. Fewer than 52% of them have acquired customers via sex. Possibly significantly fewer.

  • It's okay to charge for social media.

  • And it's fine to tweet your siblings.

  • Almost eight new people come onto the internet every second. (This one doesn't really work, but it made us snigger.)

  • Social media spreads the word. Sex just spreads cooties.

  • The average UK user spends over 26 minutes on Facebook every day. If there's an equivalent stat for sex then no wonder our economy's in a mess.

  • The average Twitter user has 27 followers, but most of the ones who follow @KimKardashian have zero sexual partners.

  • 42% of employers say no to any use of social media in the workplace. Yeah, even at the office Christmas party. Prudes.

  • My wife enjoys social media.

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Big hand for a pioneering brand: BrewDog Beers

MashTag Beer

We spend a fair bit of our time talking about what's NOT social commerce. Using a reviews plug-in for your ecommerce store? Not social commerce. Linking to your seasonal sale via Twitter? Not social commerce. Posting pictures of your products on Pinterest? Not social commerce (and also really hard to say). So, what makes us such experts in what's not social commerce? Spending all day every day helping brands sell things in social: your actual, proper, bona fide social commerce. That's what.

But there's more to social commerce than just the selling bit. Social commerce also means listening to your customers, giving them what they want, using your audience to help shape _what _you sell and how you sell it. And here's a great example of that kind of community involvement in action - the first ever recipient of our BUYAPOWA BIG HAND AWARD*, BrewDog Beers.

Scotland's BrewDog did something really cool last week. Over the course of five days, they asked their Twitter followers, Facebook fans and blog readers to vote for all the constituent factors that shape a brand new beer: style, booziness, bitterness, special twist and name. They received almost 5,000 votes in total and their

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Microsoft utter the unspeakable truth about Facebook likes

The Unspeakable Truth Of Facebook Likes

We've been saying it for a long time. Our clients have privately admitted to us that they feel the same way. But, finally, Philippa Snare, Microsoft UK's chief marketing officer, has publicly said what everyone secretly thinks about brands who hoard Facebook Likes in the same way that old people on that cable show hoard junk and filth and slimy stuff that makes you go: 'Groooooo!"

Rather charmingly reviving the spectre of old-school Facebook pokes (of course, the word has recently been co-opted by Zuck's Snapchat rival), Snare told this week's Direct Marketing Association Integration Summit: "I'm hearing about how many 'likes' you get, how many pokes you get. I don’t care how many pokes I’ve got if it’s from people I don’t want to talk to, but I really care if I’ve got four or five high quality likes from significant influencers."

She added that her board share her utter lack of desire to chase Likes, and went on to say that Microsoft were busy trying to identify metrics which truly measure social engagement, with an emphasis on "rewarding quality over volume".

And that's the interesting bit. Because Snare and Microsoft are by no

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Off the peg social commerce for your brand's Facebook page: why wait?

Ready to wear social commerce for your brand's Facebook page

We've all been there. Someone has a brilliant idea about how to reach more people, sell more, do more... then it goes to the UX team, then the product team, then the dev team. It goes through 1000 stages of planning, wireframing, working prototypes, UAT, iterations. More and more complexity, more and more time, more and more money.

We were speaking to a very well-known drinks company recently about a fantastic social commerce campaign they had run on Facebook. It was beautifully implemented, it worked really well - people shared, people engaged, people bought - but it had cost them the best part of £100k to implement and they'd emerged with no way of repeating the campaign without spending a similar amount.

Needless to say, they were very excited when we told them we had a super-affordable, off-the-shelf solution which offers almost identical functionality, lives in your brand's Facebook page, takes less than a day to implement and is reusable again and again and again - at no extra cost.

All that is absolutely crucial for agencies who have heard that social commerce is THE #1 social media trend for 2013 and need to roll out quick-but-affordable solutions to their clients before they get left behind.

If that sounds like you, take a minute to drop us a line. That single minute could be all it takes to get a cutting-edge social commerce campaign up and running on your Facebook Page.

Robin Bresnark

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