Numbers May Be Falling, But the Social Commerce Sky is Not

Fewer shoppers are flocking to social media Web sites in search of deals and coupons says a new study from National Retail Federation as reported in the Chicago Tribune. According to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study, the numbers reveal a seven percent decline between 2011 and 2012.

Lest you think the end of the social media revolution is near, there is much good news to report. In fact, the press release announcing the results of the study begins thusly: “Never before has social media been so attractive to consumers, literally.”

The big news is that the visually-oriented pinboard site Pinterest is winning the day.

“Pinterest has become a big player in an even bigger arena, with online U.S. consumers reporting that they already follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on the site, compared to the average 6.9 retailers they follow on Facebook and the 8.5 retailers they track via Twitter. Overall, almost two out of five (38%) online consumers follow retailers through one or more social networking sites.”

A few other facts worth mentioning:

  • For retailers engaged in the social media sphere, customizing their approach with social and mobile strategies is leading to social commerce success.
  • Company blogs, YouTube and Facebook command the majority of consumers’ social activity.
  • 70% of those who follow a retailer’s blog click through to the website.

The study went on to say that finding good deals is still the #1 reason people follow brands, but that deals and coupons have lost a little of their luster.

If not deals, then what else are consumers looking for? Product information, comments about merchandise or services, information about events, current trends and ideas, photos and videos such as “how-to’s” and styling ideas, as well as expert opinions make the list.

Location-based technologies such as Shopkick and Foursquare play a more significant role than in the past. According to the study, appealing to the SoLoMo customer may present the greatest opportunity and recommends that brands spend more effort in using location data to better serve them.

Lastly,  the survey surfaced data on the difference between how consumers use smartphones, as opposed to how they use tablets. Smartphone users are “most likely to use their device for social reasons, such as contacting friends and family about products they see and searching for items nearby, while tablets are more likely to be used to make purchases and comparison shop.”

What does this information tell us? Several things:

  • Deals are still a driver.
  • Content is king, especially that which relates to the consumer’s interests.
  • Find ways to leverage the use of Pinterest, but don’t throw Facebook or Twitter under the bus.
  • Blogging, though old hat by today’s standards, can still play an influential role, especially in terms of its ability to drive traffic to your e-commerce site.
  • Appeal to SoLoMo customers and make use of location-based technologies to better serve them.

The F-Commerce Handbook: 10 Secrets for Unlocking the Sales Potential of FacebookOh, and one other thing. Purchase a copy of our new ebook, The F-Commerce Handbook: 10 Secrets for Unlocking the Sales Potential of Facebook. It’s available in Kindle, Nook and soon to be available in Print On Demand (POD) as well.


Written by
Paul Chaney
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  • Ha, love the analogy. Nice write and yes you’re spot on, the sky isn’t falling. The way that businesses need to communicate to their customers has changed for the long term and was done so by Facebook. The platform may change from time to time, but how a business needs to talk to the customers remains the same.

  • […] Daily Deals von Groupon und Co. verlieren in den USA offenbar an Bedeutung: Laut einer Studie der National Retail Federation surfen die US-Verbraucher um 7 Prozent seltener auf die Websites entsprechender Anbieter, während die Foto-Pinnwand Pinterest genauso an Bedeutung gewinnt wie ortsbezogene Dienste wie Foursquare und Shopkick. […]

Written by Paul Chaney