June 15, 2010, 1:55 PM

Value-added social media

Social media is also a great tool for inventory management.

Lead Photo

Nielsen Online vice president Ken Cassar

Social networking can obviously help online retailers with their marketing and merchandising efforts, but another area of opportunity is using Facebook for better inventory management, Nielsen Online vice president of industry insights Ken Cassar told attendees last week at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition.

Cassar, who spoke at a social networking workshop session entitled “Social media: How picking the goal sets the course,” said multichannel retailers most commonly use of social networks today to measure in-store customer experiences, follow trends or to measure e-commerce-related promotional content and shopper feedback. But before investing heavily in new products, web retailers can also use Facebook as an effective inventory management tool.

“It’s a good place to gather feedback before making a linear decision, before purchasing 50,000 new SKUs,” Cassar said. “Facebook is also a great place for the merchandising organization to test shopper reaction to prices, styles and colors.”

 Research from Nielsen Online shows that most retailers are using social media to create Facebook fan pages, track and react to customer reviews, and engage with shoppers via Twitter. But social media also gives retailers of all sizes an excellent way to study past customer comments and metrics and to better prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season. “You can look at past conversations and other metrics and do early staging to figure out what customers will react to,” he said.

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