With over 3.5 million followers across seven social media platforms, Woolworths boasts the largest combined social following of any retailer in South Africa. According to the company, the #woolworthssa hashtag has generated over 10 million TikTok views to date, while customers have tagged the retailer in 44,000 Instagram posts this year alone.
“Take TikTok for example: we have a team constantly analysing the SA conversation on the platform, creating curated online baskets to enhance the #tiktokmademebuyit phenomenon. And that’s just the beginning: partnerships with those influencers are developing organically at a really exciting pace,” says Wilson-Spath.
On its social platforms, Woolworths aims to lead with immersive brand storytelling and visually arresting images. Viewing its social media platforms as an extension of its marketplace, Woolworths has, for example, applied this thinking to virtual try-ons, allowing customers try on their make-up products virtually on Instagram, with the option to purchase straight from the platform - a first in South Africa.
The retailer has also trialled a “phygital” solution, integrating its social commerce capability with its physical presence through an in-store InstaShop, letting shoppers browse their digital friends’ Woolies faves on Instagram, while having a physical browsing experience.
According to Liz Hillock, head of online at Woolworths; “Digital is an accelerator of growth that is shaping everything we do – from building deep connections to customers and communities, to driving sales across both digital and physical channels.
“Our brand extends far beyond our stores, web or app platforms, into what is essentially a customers’ chosen social marketplace. Showing up as relevant within each channel is critical, and we dedicate a lot of focus towards engaging with our customers and creating really compelling content for our customers to enjoy.”
“We predict a significant rise in live-stream shopping opportunities in South Africa, and as the technology becomes available to us, Woolworths intends to continue to lead in social commerce and be at the forefront of this phenomenon,” concludes Hillock.