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28.02.2018 | Альбина Весина

Social networks: a lifeline or a millstone?

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Anna Panyukova, Director of Development «Prime Management», reminds how important it is for brands to separate social networks and classic e-commerce for themselves. Facebook Instagram and Facebook,"If social networks are used mainly as channels for promoting goods and services, PR and marketing of retail chains, then purchases are made on the websites of these networks (which have links to their Instagram and Facebook)," the expert explains. – For sales, social networks work exclusively for retailers with a low average check (up to 2–3 thousand rubles), when the purchase is impulsive. In addition, we should not forget that in total sales, the online channel takes from retail chains in Russia, on average, according to various data, so far no more than 3% of THAT (although this share is constantly growing). Online stores of networks with a well-structured marketing policy (contextual and other types of advertising) work systematically and with good returns, which means that the promotion of pages in social networks alone will not bring a tangible effect for the network in itself.


At the same time, not noticing the growth of online sales will be short-sighted for the retailer, I am convinced Anna Panyukova, therefore, any network with long-term development plans should have an online store or a built-in cooperation with companies that sell goods online and really invest in the development of this sales channel. "As an example, I can give a popular Russian resource , where retailers can be located even without their own online store, – informs Anna Panyukova. According to feedback from retailers, placing products on this site brings a more tangible result than trying to sell your product yourself through the same channels. Instagram, for example, does not have many subscribers (120 thousand in total). For example, some popular fashion bloggers on Instagram have 4–5 times more subscribers, but at the same time, I have no doubt, in terms of online sales – one of leaders in Russia».

Brands and retail in general are changing, however, not social networks for a long time, but the buyers themselves, according to "Prime Management". «Fashion in shopping malls «sags » in terms of revenue (with the exception of outlet centers, discount centers and fast fashion retailers, which are still growing, but fast fashion is also growing online), so retailers are looking for new sales channels by turning to online stores and collaborating with bloggers on Instagram, – continues Anna Panyukova. "Some brands are already really "coming out" from Instagram, where they originally started their business, and the shops in the shopping center serve for them, rather, as a showroom where you can touch the goods and order from home. This is reflected in the area of stores (the trend towards a decrease in the area) and the location of these stores (either in a "creative space" with like-minded people and the same target audience, or just "near the subway" so that it is convenient for the buyer to come and get acquainted with the goods)».




"Endless shelf" the main advantage of all e-commerce channels in social networks is gaining new "chips". "It will be interesting to observe the implementation of the recently announced global plans of the Vkontakte network for 2018, which, according to the promise of top managers, will become the best platform for retail development," says Olga Valchuk, CEO of "Regionevelopment". For Russia, another trend may be interesting: sales via Telegram (a special bot, the creation of which takes several steps) with a link to Yandex.Money. In general, social networks, for their part, are doing everything possible to make it easier for retail to reach the heart of consumers. For example, Facebook has added a bot to the Messenger application: it appears on key audience requests among the user's usual dialogues, offering him a discount for registration, can promptly answer 3–4 user questions, then, if the user still has questions, a real operator connects. Instagram, despite the appearance of a new option that allows you to mark the cost of the product in the photo, still remains for the most part a platform for promotion and communication with the audience, but not sales.


The desires, ideas and standards of the new generation inevitably influence the traditional rules of the fashion industry, the Fashion Consulting Group agrees. At the same time, if for generation Y the Internet has long become a "natural habitat", then for older people "living life virtually" is a much less familiar format. So, every second young Russian (45%) aged 18 to 24 has already made purchases online, but among people aged 45+, less than 18% have tried to buy virtually. Among people over 55 years of age, there are even fewer active buyers - only 6% ventured into online shopping. The activity of using the Internet for shopping is actually inversely proportional to the age of buyers, according to FCG. The expectations of young people from the process of fashion buying itself differ significantly from the requirements of the older generation. First of all, it is the pleasure of shopping efficiency, which means the relevance and constant updating of the fashion brand's offer, the individuality of the service, the ability to quickly obtain complete information, the widest possible choice in one place, prompt price comparison with competitors and willingness to switch to a competitor if its information service is more convenient.


Facebook instagrammers rarely boast of a million subscribers on Instagram or Facebook, – states Konstantin Budagyan, Senior Analyst of the Market Research Department CBRE. So, for example, the number of subscribers of the largest Russian online store specializing in clothing, – the Instagram network currently has a little more than 100 thousand people. But the profile departments of major Russian retailers have long been using social networks as an auxiliary channel for delivering news to the audience, a showcase for goods, as well as a tool for quality control of service. The format of the social network assumes the speed, simplicity and openness of receiving feedback from the retail operator: customer complaints in the comments to posts are immediately visible to other customers, and you can write around the clock. However, without a developed infrastructure, social networks are still primarily a place where you can see new products and read comments. For the buyer, a new sales channel means not only a wide choice, but also informing about which friends have already made a purchase of a certain brand and how much they liked the product, as well as the attitude of the rest of the social circle on the network to this brand or store. As more and more customers make at least one purchase using social networks as the main tool for choosing a product, the potential audience is growing. To create a loyal base of regular customers, it is necessary to improve the quality of service and provide unique services.


To be continued.


Author: Ekaterina Reutskaya

Photo: shutterstock