It doesn’t take a retail rocket scientist to figure out what stores wanted most in 2013: A way to make social media pay off.
Of the year’s 10 most-read retail stories in Marketing Daily, four dealt directly with retailers’ struggles to find a social strategy that clicks with its customers. And some even reflected the painful truth that so far, social pretty much sucks. “For Stores, Email Still Beats The Pants Off Of Social” was the third-most read, for example. And “Social Media Still A Bust was fifth-most popular. Other most-read articles were more hopeful: An analysis of Forrester research showing CMOs growing prowess in social programs ranked No. 8, while a piece on Target’s initial introduction of Cartwheel, its most concerted effort yet to link social media with e-commerce and mobile technology, came in No. 9.
Readers are still curious about what Gen Y likes, although not as fiercely as in years past. A story on Millennials’ favorite retail brands cracked the top 10, as did a piece about whether Americans will finally warm up to online grocery shopping. Interestingly, in an indication that marketers are increasingly taking ownership of the realms of both customer experience and loyalty, a report on a study that found experience trumps price cracked the top 5 of this list.
But—whether readers love it or loathe it—the most interesting brand continues to be the mighty Walmart. With its growing clout in online shopping and its finger on the pulse of the country’s largest demographic, it’s still Marketing Daily’s most-read-about brand. “Walmart Plans Biggest Black Friday Ever” and “Walmart Retools E-Commerce, Mobile; Tests Lockers” were the year’s first and second most popular stories.