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Retailers double down on social media to reach new customers, new study finds

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Research from American Express has revealed an appetite from retailers to invest in social media marketing, as a way of tackling the challenge of attracting new customers and driving loyalty.

Customer attraction and retention was named as one of the top three challenges facing their businesses over the next 12 months by the 500 UK retailers surveyed, along with managing increased costs and mitigating the impact of cost-of-living pressures on consumer spending.

A third (33%) of retailers said they wanted to make the most of their social media channels to build a community among their customers and drive brand loyalty. 

As a result, investment in marketing and branding was pinpointed as the top area for investment; over a half (53%) of those surveyed who are planning to invest in this area said they would funnel funds into boosting social media activity.  

TikTok has built a reputation for showcasing new and popular product trends, however the study highlighted that smaller retailers are about three times less likely to have a presence on TikTok than their larger counterparts (43% large retailers vs 14% SME retailers). Almost one third (29%) of small merchants surveyed said they would like to launch their presence on TikTok this year. 

“Social media is a key channel for retailers of all sizes, enabling them to reach new customers and build a community around their brand” said Dan Edelman, general manager, UK Merchant Services at American Express.

Discover how organic social remains an important way for retailers and brands to reach consumers in the newly published DigitalX 2024 report.

Inside the report we discuss how marketers need to deal with the challenges here at the same time as grappling with advances in fields such as deep tech, AI, data science, social trends, platforms and behavioural analysis.

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