When it comes to social, what consumers want and what businesses think they want seem to be a bit different. Consider this insight from IBM's recent report: From Social Media to Social CRM (via Influx). Businesses think consumers follow social channels to feel connected, submit comments and be part of the community but consumers report to mostly wanting to be closer to the product and product transactions.
What makes the consumer's desire for discounts, promotions and purchase even more important is Deloitte's recent Retailing Report which states that as the economy continues to circle back, in-store deals won't be as prevelant as we've all been used to over the last several years. The firm predicts this will cause consumers to turn more towards their social connections to make savvier buying decisions--both on-premise and off-premise.
Interestingly, both of these insights support the rise of two retailing trends that Forrester began the year with: Zero Channel Retail and a general shifting from the standard supply chain process to a Customer Value Chain business. I think these trends are worth a re-read now that we're nearly halfway into 2011. Both can be put to use across large and local retailers alike. And then at the same time the social presence can be refined to match.