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The Importance of Influencing the “Influencer” in Retail


retail, influence, shoppertrak, in-store analyticsIt’s not about reaching out to the masses across as many platforms as possible when planning an optimal social media strategy. It’s about understanding in detail who your customer is and where you can find them in order to determine the most effective channels to adopt. Consumer usage of each network can vary greatly based on demographics and interests. To get their message across, it’s crucial that brands and retailers understand their specific customer subsets in order to effectively align their methods of engagement with that particular group.

Retailers must also consider that within their targeted segments, some customers are better than others. However, the question is which ones?

Often businesses tend to view those who are frequent shoppers or big spenders to be the indispensable ones. There’s no question that at the end of the day, it’s all about conversions. It’s crucial that traffic, no matter where it comes from, is converted into sales for a retailer to survive. Yet, is it possible that retailers may be focusing on the wrong customer?

According to Ed Keller and Brad Fay, authors of The Face-to-Face Book, a customer’s value shouldn’t be placed on the heavyweight purchasers, but on those who have the most “social value.”  As they explain, “Your most valuable customers are not necessarily the ones who spend the most money directly on your brand, but the ones who bring the most customers into the fold through word-of-mouth advocacy” (235).  It’s these customers who have an impact on the buying behavior of others.

How much of an impact do they have exactly? Keller and Fay regard them as the “influencers.” While the average American has a social network of approximately 16 friends, family and acquaintances, the “influencer” doubles that figure with 33 friends, family and acquaintances with whom they interact. At a ratio of about one in ten Americans, influencers are always “in the know” and are often actively sought out for their advice and recommendations on a wide range of categories by others.

It’s time to rethink the most valuable customer. To be truly successful at consumer brand advocacy, it’s essential for retailers to understand which targeted customers are the “influencers.” They need to figure out what motivates them, where on social media they can be found, and exactly how they like to be engaged.

It’s imperative that retailers use the most relevant data at their disposal to understand how to best engage with their most valuable customers on-line and off-line. Through our people counting solutions, ShopperTrak provides in-store analytics that provide deeper insights into data that can help retailers understand how to best align each method of engagement with their customers to successfully meet their overall marketing strategy.


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