The notion that customer conversations about retail and apparel brands mostly occur offline is both quaint and intriguing, and it would be interesting to suddenly see a lot of marketing and advertising dollars from these brands move offline. Well, interesting to some of us, disastrous to others.
Engagement Labs also found that the tone or sentiment of a face-to-face conversation about a given retail or apparel brand is much more likely to be positive than if a consumer goes online to talk about that brand. For many people, that may simply confirm their perceptions that social media is a cesspool of complaining, self-absorption and self-pity.
In any case, it’s no surprise that Amazon would score very well in terms of online chatter. It courts that chatter through its product reviews and branded marketing content. Its strong offline performance may be more surprising, but also may serve as proof that the company is no longer just an e-commerce giant. Seeing three athleisure brands in the top 10 also isn’t terribly surprising, as Engagement Labs noted in a previous study how much chatter those brands generated.
Wal-Mart’s absence from the top 10 is pretty hard to believe, and as it turns out, Wal-Mart was the most talked-about retail and apparel brand offline and had the third-highest online volume. However, Engagement Labs explained that the retailer scored low with consumer sentiment and it doesn’t drive much brand-sharing, which Engagement Labs described as chatter about its overall marketing efforts.
Nordstrom not only had the highest online score, but it was the only company listed that had a stronger online score than offline. Some of that can be traced to Nordstrom’s famous reputation for positive customer service working its way into online conversations, but the company also has thrown some heft behind its social media efforts in the last year.
Meanwhile, Costco’s offline score was much higher than its online score. Other brick-and-mortar retailers who didn’t make the top 10 — such as Old Navy, Home Depot, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond — similarly had high offline scores, but online score low enough that they were kept out of the top 10. Still, it’s nice to see a handful of brands with brick-and-mortar presence near the top of this list. All is certainly not lost for these struggling retailers if they can keep consumers talking.