A lot has changed in the community space this year.
We’ve seen real momentum in retail and eCommerce. Retail execs are increasingly putting community building at the core of their strategy.
This is just one example but, at TokyWoky, we met with 4 times as many retailers as we did last year. Two years ago, about 15% of these meetings were attended by C-level leadership. In 2019, that number was closer to 75%.
Based on these conversations, here are 7 predictions for community in retail in the new decade:
1. Retailers will shift part of their focus from social media platforms to owned community platforms.
In 2019, brands started seriously rethinking their dependence on Facebook & Instagram.
Faced with declining reach and increased ad spend, many brand marketers are looking for safer channels to engage their best customers and turning to community platforms they can own.
2. Brands will keep maturing to the idea that customers can do a lot more than buy.Think customers posting reviews, advising other shoppers, sharing photos of outfits they styled, craft projects they finished, beauty routines they follow...
The challenge for brands will be building a system that incentivizes customer contributions at scale. Community goals & incentives will play a huge part in this.
3. Loyalty programs will be revamped to reward & incentivize these new contributions.We’ll see many retailers move away from promo emails and towards engaging community platforms that can offer the unique and custom experiences customers are looking for from their favorite brands.
4. Leveraging in-store community events will become a leading differentiator for brick & mortar retailers.Photoshoots, classes, meet-ups, workshops… These are all very powerful ways to get clients back into stores, build a community & create quality UGC that can boost brand image and conversion.
5. Ownership of the community project is going to keep moving up the company hierarchy.
This will happen because:
- Community-building is becoming key in differentiating from Amazon.
- Successful communities will involve many different teams (CRM, Marketing, Customer Service, Ecommerce, Social, Technical, In-store…)
6. Community ROI tracking will improve.
Decision makers moving away from vanity metrics like follower counts and number of likes will improve community ROI tracking.
Success will be measured based on actual customer contributions and its impact on sales, customer service cost, customer retention...
7. Many more community solution vendors will be entering the space.
Winners will be those who:
- Provide the best expertise and community building method (it’s all about iteration)
- Build the model that adapts best to different community types and business objectives (if there's one thing I've learned in the past 5 years, it's that community isn't "one size fits all")
- Integrate with other solutions the best (CRM, reviews, socials…)
What do you think of these predictions?
Agree or disagree, I'd love to know at firstname.lastname@example.org