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Fashion retailers indifferent to customers on FB
Mar '16
More than half of fashion retailers in the UK don't provide customer service details on their Facebook page, and 36 per cent don't respond to a direct customer query via the platform, according to Strategic multichannel consultancy Practicology.

London-headquartered Practicology has investigated whether fashion retailers' Facebook pages are following best practice and utilising the functionality of the platform when it comes to engaging and interacting with their customers.

In a study conducted between November 2015 and January 2016 Practicology reviewed the UK Facebook pages of 50 clothing, footwear and accessories retailers to provide more meaningful insight into how well they are actually engaging and supporting their customers via the platform; rather than more simple measures of social media success, such as number of followers, it said on its website.

The research shows that not enough fashion retailers are maximising the potential of their Facebook pages, either as a selling tool to inspire customers and link to their website, or to directly engage customer who have questions about the brand.

Practicology found that 43 (86 per cent) of the 50 fashion retailers had direct messaging enabled on their Facebook pages, but 18 (36 per cent) of retailers didn't respond when it sent them a customer query this way. Those that didn't respond included Burton Menswear, Debenhams, French Connection, Hobbs, Jigsaw, Pull & Bear and Topshop.

Fifty six per cent of fashion retailers didn't provide customer service information - such as an email, phone number or a customer service app - on their Facebook page. Those with no customer service information included Ben Sherman, Coast, Desigual, Evans, Jigsaw, Oasis, LK Bennett, Moss Bros, Next, Superdry and TM Lewin.

The study found that 22 per cent of the fashion retailers had not set up a Call To Action button - such as Shop Now or Contact Us - despite this offering a useful link to either the retailer's website or customer services. Those with no CTA button included Zara, &OtherStores, Coast, Clarks and Miss Selfridge.

The Practicology research also found that 24 of the 50 retailers had posted festive-themed cover images during peak trading, but 13 (26 per cent) didn't change it to reflect the change of promotions and season until the 4th January or later. These social media slow-coaches included SimplyBe, Lipsy, H&M, Dorothy Perkins, Clarks and Accessorize.

"Fashion retailers and brands understand that if a consumer sees an outfit in their store window they expect to be able to walk into the store and buy it. Yet when it comes to Facebook pages, too many retailers don't take the same approach. And even worse, a significant number allowed customers to message them through Facebook and then didn't respond. This is akin to a staff member refusing to answer a question from a customer in a store," said Practicology's social media consultant Amanda Haxton who led the research.

She added "Social media should be viewed as a crucial aspect of a retailer's customer engagement and customer service strategy. Our report provides benchmarks to show what best practice is for the Facebook platform, as well as clear examples of retailers who are getting it right." (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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