It’s easy to see how social media helps drive sales online. It’s a linear path; users see your social media post, click the link and head to your website, find what they want and then purchase. Okay it’s not that simple. People don’t usually buy right away and the process varies, but it’s easy to understand how social media can drive online sales. It’s more difficult to see how social media helps drive in-store sales.
One way social media can be used to increase in-store sales is by providing customers with social proof. “Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation” – thanks Wikipedia. So what does that really mean and why does that matter? Let’s take a look at what Ashley Furniture is doing and why it’s working.
Ashley Furniture is very active on social media. They have accounts on Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Twitter. They’ve recently brought the social media experience into their stores by adding tags of the Pinterest logo onto their top pinned products. Now when you are walking around the store, whenever you see an item with the Pinterest logo attached to it you know it’s a popular item. There’s a few reasons why this is going to increase sales.
Social Proof Helps Increase Online Fans
The first thing this does is increase online fans. Before I stepped into the store, I had no idea Ashley Furniture was active on social media. I knew I wasn’t going to buy that day, I just started looking for furniture and I wasn’t even sure what style I was looking for. When I saw the sign, I grabbed my phone and followed them on Pinterest so I could look for more inspiration later on when I was at home. After looking through many online photos of their furniture, I found a few that I liked, stopped into a store to make sure they were comfortable and now I have new furniture from Ashley Furniture.
Social Proof is Calming to the Overwhelmed
Furniture shopping can be overwhelming. The stores are huge, stuffed full of products ranging from under $100 to several thousand dollars each and the stores usually lack organization. Couple that with not knowing exactly what you’re looking for, and you’re quickly ready to walk out of the store with the feeling of defeat weighing on your shoulders. Now let’s change the scene. You walk into the store with all the same issues, you’re greeted by a saleswoman who asks what you’re looking for. After telling her that you’re not really sure, she responds by pointing out their most popular items are highlighted with the Pinterest tag and encourages you to look at those items first. Now you have specific items to look at which is much less intimidating. You’re still going to see all the other furniture options, but you have specific items to look for until you decide on your personal style. Ashley Furniture has calmed your nerves and kept you in the store – which is very important for in-store sales.
Social Proof Assists in the Decision Making Progress
If you’re between two pieces of furniture and can’t decide between them you may decide you’re going to “sleep on it”. While thinking it over, you may start to reconsider furniture from other stores as well. Ashley Furniture’s in-store Pinterest campaign provides social proof, which may help you decide between the two pieces of furniture. Both pieces of furniture have same function and are in the same price range, but they look a little bit different. You like the look of both but you’re not sure which one looks better. One sits there quietly while the other displays its Pinterest badge proudly – proving that thousands of people would choose that piece over the other. The social proof provided by that Pinterest logo could mean the difference between getting the sale today and having the customer reconsider all the other options.
Visit Ashley Furniture HomeStore's profile on Pinterest.
Visit St. Louis Social Media Consultants's profile on Pinterest.
Founder of St. Louis Social Media Consultants.
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