On Instagram, FaceBook, Pinterest and other social networking platforms, there are literally thousands of small businesses, and they are all nibbling away, piece by piece at a lot of established retail, and eCommerce companies, and all that 'aggregated' nibbling is already disrupting quite a few of the big boys, with many  more to follow no doubt. and it all sounds very, very familiar.

I saw this recent article about one of 'Sir Philip Green's' retail empire 'Top Shop', it discusses how what once was the place for young 15-20+ somethings to go to buy, and be seen buying the latest outfit for the holiday, festival, or weekend clubbing, but not anymore. 

Arcadia is not only falling out of favour with its landlords, who Sir Philip blames for the struggles of the bigger group of companies operating under the umbrella brand name of 'Arcadia' but these socially savvy consumers are saying the retailer doesn't really understand them, or their friends. 

"I'm a lot less interested in Topshop nowadays, it's just not really how I dress," says 24-year-old advertising account executive Beth Armstrong.

Customers like Ms Armstrong are one of the reasons that UK High Street retail chain Arcadia, owner of popular brands such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, is in trouble and seeking a rescue deal.

"What's in style right now is streetwear, and Topshop hasn't got much of that," she tells the BBC.

Ms Armstrong is a typical consumer, someone who used to shop there often, but has since moved onto other brands.

Meanwhile, she says that people younger than her don't see Topshop's styles as being "on trend".

I'm not going to comment on the financial issues that 'Arcadia' are dealing with but I do have an observation on where they, and many other over confident big brand High Street retailers, and many established eCommerce companies are losing out.

Back in the late 1990's an online movement was gradually taking place, this was the birth of eCommerce around the globe, at first there were just a few of eCommerce sites, these included book stores, music stores, and the inevitable world of 'online 'porn', and lots of people just wanting to earn some extra income from something they already knew a lot about. 

This was at a time when most retail brands thought it nothing other than a fad, an irritation maybe, and something that if embraced would 'cannabilise' their existing physical store portfolio, so instead of embracing it many chose to ignore it, and others set up their online store out of FOMO.   

History and economics has shown what happened to that kind of internalised thinking from the boardroom leaders. 

Virtually all of these so called established on/offline retail companies are still operating in an analog way, when its a digital world. The consumer of today is tech savvy, socially aware, and places more value in what their peers and friendship circle tell them, than the corporate 'advertise and promote' mentality that all businesses seem to have adopted in the social media landscape.

Statistics show that people trust the recommendations of an influencer they follow more than any other form of advertising. In fact, 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions, and 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. Why?

Consumers want to hear from other consumers. This is largely due to their trustworthiness, their relatability and the fact that their followers value their opinion more highly than a celebrity or brand.

And what really makes these 'influencers' really stand out?

They engage, and listen to what's being said - unlike brands like Arcadia!.

Social Listening is an awesome 'Superpower' and if done within the correct strategic framework it can turbo charge your business, make you more relatable, and give you access to where your brand should be going, NOT where its been.

If this is something you can relate to, and see yourself as the internal 'Change Maker' drop me a note, lets talk and see how we can help you unleash and weaponise your 'Social Selling' Superpower'.

We don't do retainers, we're not an agency that creates and produces copy/content or sells ads for you.

We are active 'practitioners' of what we do, we already know and can evidence the ROI of a robust and internally aligned 'Social' strategy.

Part of that evidence it that you are reading this blog, just like many others - including your competitor!

We also don't do outbound pushy, salesy marketing, so if you would like to explore more, please contact the author of this blog.