Foresee Results has undertaken an analysis of 10,000 visitors to the UK's top 40 internet retailers in a bid to identify how social media impacts online shopping.
"Everyone is talking about the role social media plays for online retailers in the UK, and there are lots of opinions about how to do it right," says Foresee's Kevin Ertell. "We thought it important to check in with customers to get their thoughts. How do they interact with retailers via social media? How would they prefer to do so? What value are they seeking from their interactions with retailers via social media?"
The analysis found that:
- 69% of online shoppers use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Of those, 37% have elected to 'friend', 'follow' or 'subscribe' to a retailer.
- 56% of online shoppers frequent Facebook, making it by far the best place to reach shoppers in the UK — both because it's where they already are, and it's where they want to hear from retailers.
- Among online shoppers who engage in social media, more than 80% are using Facebook.
- 54% of respondents who 'friend' or 'follow' companies through social media do so in order to learn about products. Not far behind, 40% of users do it to learn about special deals and options. Only six percent use social media primarily for customer support.
- 74% of online shoppers who interact with companies on social media sites 'friend' or 'follow' fewer than five companies.
"This is an amazing testament to customer loyalty and interest in social engagement," says Ertell. "UK shoppers are actually choosing to engage in relationships with retailers on social sites. Our most loyal customers are likely to reach out to us on social media, but it's how we interact with them once there that fosters greater loyalty and the likelihood to buy from us in the future."
Foresee then took a look at the top 40 online retailers' current presence on Facebook. "One-quarter do not have any formal Facebook presence and another quarter have fewer than 10,000 fans," says Ertell. "In other words, half of the top online retailers have a minimal to non-existent Facebook presence — and these are the top retailers! Imagine how the top 500, top 1000 or top 5000 fare."
Foresee's advice? "Get a Facebook page, be smart about the content, and give people what they want. Make sure you have someone to monitor it and post good, timely information. Promote it to your most loyal customers through your regular communications venues (emails, ads, stores, coupons, etc.). Use your Facebook page to post promotions and product information."