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UK retailers are failing to make the most of social media marketing

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The majority of UK retailers are failing to exploit the opportunity to integrate social media marketing into their operation to increase sales and generate loyalty, a new benchmarking study from ecommerce solutions provider dotCommerce reveals today.

The study of 100 UK retailers reveals that, while 42% have some kind of social media presence, just 12% are using more than one social media channel and only 32% of retailers with a Twitter or Facebook account promote these on their website.

The report also uncovers the differences in social media activity between larger and smaller retailers. Larger retailers are more likely to have a Twitter or Facebook account, with 42% on Twitter compared to just 12% of smaller brands. However, when it comes to blogs, smaller companies are leading the way as 10% have a blog, compared to only 6% of bigger ecommerce players.

Other findings include:

  • Twitter is now more popular than Facebook. Although Facebook has a greater user base than Twitter, fewer retailers had a presence there (24% compared to 26% for Twitter). One of the reasons might be the more ‘open’ nature of Twitter, making it easier to enter from a business standpoint, says dotCommerce.

  • Twitter is used mainly for push marketing. Retailers are largely using Twitter as a broadcasting tool with 73% using it for product updates, 62% for marketing and 58% to promote company news

  • Blogging is used by few retailers. Only 8% of retailers have a blog on their website, making it the least used of all the main social media channels assessed. Of those who blogged, only 38% posted daily and the blog was mainly used for product updates (50%) or company news (50%).

  • Other social networks are being largely ignored. Only 6% of retailers offered links to any other social media channels such as Youtube and Flickr

“We were surprised by the low levels of social media usage amongst the retailers we assessed,” says Simon Bird, technical director at dotCommerce. “For those who had taken the plunge, there was a lack of sophistication and low levels of integration with their other online marketing efforts. Lucrative opportunities to engage with target markets and drive business through social media are being overlooked by these retailers”.

“A surprisingly high number of brands with a social media presence on an external channel failed entirely to publicise this on their website,” he added. “This is a significant missed opportunity for brands who want to adopt a joined-up marketing strategy to maximise the effectiveness of their social media presence and deliver return on investment.”

Readers can download the full findings from dotCommerce’s website.

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