The Internet and the burgeoning use of social media will continue to have a significant impact on the marketing efforts of retailers and suppliers, a panel of experts told about 200 people gathered for one the educational sessions at this year’s NACDS Marketplace Conference.


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Social media, Web alter dynamics of marketing

July 16th, 2012

DENVER – The Internet and the burgeoning use of social media will continue to have a significant impact on the marketing efforts of retailers and suppliers, a panel of experts told about 200 people gathered for one the educational sessions at this year’s NACDS Marketplace Conference.

“This is changing the way manufacturers and retailers across the industry market themselves and their products,” Coca-Cola Co. vice president for the drug and value channel John Carroll said.

“The average person is never more than three feet from their mobile device,” he said. “People have come to rely on these devices.”

In fact, Carroll told the mix of suppliers and retailers at the early morning session, the use of digital devices has become part of many shoppers’ ­routines.

For instance, he noted, research done by Coca-Cola shows that 20% of shopping trips begin with a visit to Google; 40% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 use handheld devices to search for coupons, and half of all shoppers use social media to learn about deals.
In addition, Carroll noted, for shoppers who rely on digital media, 43% feel that these solutions are necessary.

The shift to more use of digital media is expected to lead to a surge in e-commerce over the next few years, he said. Projections show that sales through online and mobile sites will grow by about 13% between 2012 and 2016, Carroll said, while store-based retail is expected to climb by only 4% in the same time frame.

“I think this is the most exciting time to be in retail,” he said.

The early part of the 21st century, he stressed, is seeing time-honored retailing strategies fall by the wayside in favor of new concepts and practices.

“The game is changing from circulars and coupons to tablets and smartphones,” Carroll said. “From one-size-fits-all to segmented offerings and from manufacturer trade spend allowances to shopper-driven ­investments.”

And, he stressed, shoppers are gaining more power. For example, Carroll noted, social media sites have created forums for consumers to talk about products with thousands of other shoppers.

A good buzz around a product can often make it wildly successful, he said; while negative comments on a social media site can often sink an item.

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