A local-social strategy to make big-box stores more relevant to their communities. By Clara Shih (Co-Founder & CEO, Hearsay Social)
Long before the digital age, all business was local and social. Customer engagement was paramount. Shopkeepers, barbers and Avon ladies alike intuitively knew that their ability to connect with customers would often determine whether a purchase would be made. They understood that building long-standing relationships with customers would result in repeat visits and loyalty.
For many successful proprietors, this meant knowing customers by name, remembering their likes and dislikes and being on hand to answer product questions. Years before founding Walmart, at the age of 26, Sam Walton put these principles to work as a variety store manager in Newport, Ark.
On stage at fMC (Facebook's marketing conference) earlier this year, Walmart CMO Stephen Quinn evoked the earlier era: "...a retailer would be a pillar in the community. [Retailers] would know not only everybody, but their likes, what they thought was interesting, what new products they might be interested in."