Can Retailers Strike Gold on Facebook?

facebook logoAccording to Foresee… yes. Foresee is releasing some findings on some retail statistics associated with Facebook today. Here are some of their findings:

  • 56% of shoppers to top e-retail websites who interact with social media websites have elected to ?friend? or ?follow? or ‘subscribe? to a retailer on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. This is an amazing testament to customer loyalty and interest in social engagement. Shoppers are actually choosing to engage in relationships with retailers on social sites.
  • Facebook is, by far, the best place to reach shoppers. More than half of everyone who shops online uses Facebook, and of those online shoppers who engage in social media, more than 80% use Facebook. However, an unofficial look at the Facebook pages of the Top 100 online retailers reveals that one-quarter do not have any formal Facebook presence. In other words, half of the top online retailers have a minimal to nonexistent Facebook presence.
  • Customers mainly interact with retailers on social media sites in order to learn about products and promotions?only 5% use social media primarily for customer support?a marketer's dream come true. Consumers want companies? information, sales and specials; retailers just have to learn how to give it to them effectively.

I disagree that “Facebook is, by far, the best place to reach shoppers.” I think this could have been better written, “Facebook is, by far, the leader in influenced social networking and the largest social network to date. As a result, retail sales based on influence do well there.” With 175 million active users, no doubt that Facebook has a large percentage of shoppers. That's like saying, “People who drive cars are highly likely to purchase gas each month.” 🙂

In my opinion, the best way to reach shoppers is, hands down, search engines at the moment. I don't go to Facebook to research my next purpose and my intent is never to purchase on Facebook. However, when my intent is to purchase – I often hit the search engines.

That said, I'm not discounting the opportunity for businesses to connect with consumers on Facebook. On the contrary, this Media Report proves that consumers want to connect with retailers via social media.

  • 61% of respondents said that they interact with 1 to 5 brands via social media.
  • 21% of respondents said they interact with 6 to 10 brands via social media.
  • 10% of respondents said they interact with 11 to 20 brands via social media.
  • 8% of respondents said they interact with more than 20 brands via social media.

I've said before that social media is an amplifier for businesses online. Facebook is a big amplifier! The interconnectivity of it's members and the ability to share purchase decisions, is, of course a great opportunity. Especially if you have a process in place to connect and make offerings to those members.


  1. 1

    Now it would be interesting to know if when consumers are planning to buy something online, do they go online specifically to search for that item or do they spend time on social network sites first before searching. I know many people have a habit of using Facebook or Twitter or other social networking sites before they do anything else on the internet.

    If consumers typically use social networking sites first, then the statement from Foresee has a little bit more validity.

  2. 2

    Great Post Doug. I love the line about the car/gas correlation. You might as well add Apps to this discussion. People who have Iphones have more Apps. 🙂

    Frankly from a retail standpoint I’m suspecting that is is a much bigger shift and presents a lot more opportunity. I may be a “Fan” of Amazon but I don’t know that I’ve ever been back to their Fanpage. I buy ALL THE TIME with my Amazon App. I love Southwest and Follow them on Twitter but pay no attention. I engage with my Southwest App ALL THE TIME… I just switched from a bank I had been doing business with for 20 years…who has a fan page and I can follow on Twitter. I switched because Chase had a terrific App which I will engage with multiple ALL THE TIME.

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