Look, we could go on and on about the importance for retailers of effective data collection and management, of mobile strategy, of public-facing customer service. But it’s all moot without the right tools. Herewith, five of the top digital platforms for tracking data, managing social media blowback, curating brand images, and more. Well beyond mere middle men, these start-ups provide a necessary bridge between retail, social media, and the otherwise elusive data, strategy, and audience engagement awaiting brands on the Web.
1. Curalate: “Metrics for products, not just for pages” is the driving idea behind this service, which uses image-recognition algorithms to effectively track all of a retailers’ visual social media. With Instagram and Pinterest exceeding Facebook in importance for brand-audience relations, a reliable source to tie all the information together is imperative.
2. Visual.ly: Fashion is a visual business, so we’d expect its employees to be visual learners. What Visually supplies — pictorial infographics of social media data and other metrics, like Google Analytics — should be invaluable to growing and established fashion brands.
3. Conversocial: The start-up’s founder, Josh March, told us that customer service is inexorably moving into the public realm, and with half of consumers using social media for support, he’s right. Thus his program, which simplifies management of social media feedback, making comments and posts easy to track, prioritize, and respond to, is indispensable. And, while brands are at it, they can easily collect and manage relevant customer data from their newly branded customer service.
4. Olapic: Brands like Nasty Gal, BaubleBar, and Lululemon have turned to Olapic to integrate and host their audiences’ photos from a range of platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr — featuring their companies’ products. For brands, Olapic makes those user images easy to curate, display, and most important, render totally shoppable.
5. Fashion GPS: One of the original leaders in digital solutions for the fashion industry, brands employ Fashion GPS for everything from managing client bases online, digitally planning and tracking events from invitations to final attendance, to creating and handing virtual showrooms and lookbooks. Oh, and they’re deeply involved with New York Fashion Week, connecting editors, buyers, and influencers to labels with a means of managing RSVPs, looks, and sample requests in one streamlined format.