Use social merchandising online to affect purchases in your store

There’s a session at the next ANA Shopper Marketing Committee I’d really like to attend.  (But I’m not a member – sigh…  If you are a member, you can find it here.)  The point of the session is so important for multi-channel retailers, I’m copying the description here.  I’d put it this way: don’t just use your web presence to sell; use it to create a connection to your brand that will bridge from your site all the way to your store.  One of the most powerful ways you can do this is with social merchanising tools (like TurnTo) that show visitors that their friends are also customers.

11:30AM- How Shoppers Shop: The vast majority of shoppers conduct research before they go to store, with an increasing proportion of them spending time online, not only looking for deals, but also getting recommendations from friends, looking at product reviews, and comparing product information. Moreover, online research and recommendations are having a greater impact on what makes it onto shopping lists. With roughly half of women indicating that they have purchased products based on recommendations from friends, viral marketing represents an important opportunity to engage shoppers before they go to the store. While significant attention has been paid to the roughly two thirds of brand decisions that are made in the store, the growth in digital shopper marketing represents a major opportunity to increase preference and purchase intent earlier along the path to purchase.