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Fashion retailers ignoring customers on Facebook

A study of 50 clothing, footwear and accessories retailers on Facebook has revealed that they aren’t “maximising the potential of their Facebook pages,” especially when it comes to engaging and interacting with their customers.

Strategic multichannel consultancy Practicology found that out of the 50 UK Facebook pages 43, 83 percent had direct messaging enabled on their Facebook pages, however, 18 retailers including Burton Menswear, Debenhams, French Connection, Hobbs, Jigsaw, Pull and Bear and Topshop, didn’t respond when the consultancy sent them a customer query this way.

Over half of the fashion brands, 56 percent, didn’t provide any customer service information, such as an email, phone number or customer service app on their Facebook page. These included Ben Sherman, Coast, Desigual, Evans, Jigsaw, Oasis, LK Bennett, Moss Bros, Next, Superdry and TM Lewin.

Practicology’s Facebook Benchmarking For Retailers 2016 report also found that 22 percent of the fashion retailers had not set up a Call To Action button, such as Shop Now or Contact Us, despite this offering a useful link to either the retailer’s website or customer services. Those with no CTA button included Zara, &OtherStories, Coast, Clarks and Miss Selfridge.

Practicology social media consultant Amanda Haxton said: "Fashion retailers and brands understand that if a consumer sees an outfit in their store window they expect to be able to walk into the store and buy it. Yet when it comes to Facebook pages, too many retailers don't take the same approach. And even worse, a significant number allowed customers to message them through Facebook and then didn't respond. This is akin to a staff member refusing to answer a question from a customer in a store".

Haxton added: "Social media should be viewed as a crucial aspect of a retailer's customer engagement and customer service strategy.”

The report suggests a number of tips for retailers including ensuring that its cover image represents the brand proposition, something that will excite customers, and that it’s correctly sized and updated as promotions and seasons change. To test the relative effectiveness of different Facebook Call To Action buttons, even if you don‟t sell online you can still use a CTA button, such as the Contact Us button. To respond to customer queries within 24 hours and consider using the names of members of your teams in a message sign off to show that the messages aren’t automated responses.

Image: Practicology