Study: Social, digital media have strong influence on retail traffic

LAS VEGAS A new report by Jones Lang LaSalle indicated that social and digital media is essential to the new retail environment.

In the global real estate services firm's report, “Get Connected -- How to Harness the Power of Digital Media,” social media has changed how consumers behave, communicate, gather information, socialize and shop-- advertising and media strategy is no longer a one-way, interruption-based activity and should be interactive, dynamic and provide value to the consumer.

The report found that 92% of consumer respondents rely on the Web to research and browse for products. That said, the company advises that e-mail marketing using coupon offers, sales, loyalty programs and e-marketing initiatives should not stand alone, but rather form part of a greater digital and social media plan to reach customers. Such social networking sites as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace map relationships among users and allow information sharing, the report said, and encourages consumers to create their own content.

Additionally, such offerings as mobile phone applications have made a stake in consumer outreach. Retailers have taken the cue and are rushing to develop apps that bring them close to their target market by offering useful tools to improve the quality and ease of the shopping experience, the report said.

“We must engage with our consumers rather than talk at them. The overwhelming reality is that social media is increasing across all generations and the rules have changed. We can now solicit customer feedback and interact with consumers directly and in ‘real time,’” said Greg Maloney, president and CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle retail division.

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