The Weingarten marketing team descended on Austin, Texas for the ICSC Mocial Conference. This annual conference covers all things in the ever-evolving social media world, as well as new technology concepts that can change the consumer shopping experience. The term Mocial was coined from a combination of the words mobile, social and local. Speakers at the conference included professionals from popular social networks like Facebook, Foursquare and RetailMeNot Inc., social analytics and management companies like Hootsuite and Simply Measured, as well as retailers and shopping centers who have a proven history of strong social media strategies and implementation.
To kick-off the conference, Michael Kercheval, President and CEO of ICSC, gave a compelling speech relating technology and demographics to the retail real estate industry. Kercheval went over gender shifts; the emergence of the largest graduating class in US history in 2010 and how millennials will change the shopping experience; as well as the effects of web-rooming versus showrooming. During the message, Kercheval asked the audience to answer some of the same poll questions asked in recent studies by texting in answers. The answers from the audience were presented in real-time, and then could be directly compared the national survey.
Some of the national survey answers are listed below.
How consumers use the internet – 48% purchase online and pick up in-store, 37% use the internet for research and then buy in-store, 35% purchased items on-line but returned their purchase in-store. 95% of those who returned items bought on-line in-store purchased more than their original purchase in-store.
The blockbuster speaker, Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, explained how shopping centers can utilize mobile, social, and big data to drive traffic and sales. To begin with, Qualman explained that you cannot replace face-to-face interaction and that social media efforts should not be about selling. His four steps to success include listening, interacting, reacting and sharing. If you get a chance, be sure to ask this very motivating social media guru about being “flawsome.”
Throughout the conference, there were breakout sessions, roundtables and networking opportunities for all the attendees to take advantage of learning more about digital marketing. Below are the main ideas that resonated with our marketing team.
- Analytics from social media platforms can be used for site selection decisions, market selection (acquisitions and dispositions) decisions, and consumer pattern tracking
- Babies are born today with a digital footprint
- Mobile devices are becoming a remote control for your life. More people own mobile devices than they do toothbrushes
- Best form of advertising is word of mouth, and social media amplifies word of mouth
- Keep posts personal – digital marketing needs to compliment face to face
- Digital marketing is hard work and takes time – no short term ROI –
- Executives need to be educated accordingly on the advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing
- Visual posts increase engagement, however keep the visuals simple
- How new technology, like beacons and wearable devices will change the shopping experience
- How to utilize a digital concierge at shopping centers for centers that do not have an onsite concierge