It's time for retailers to start paying close attention to social media
The top 500 retailers earned $3.3 billion from social shopping in 2014, up 26% from 2013, according to the Internet Retailer's Social Media 500. That is well ahead of the roughly 16% growth rate for the overall e-commerce market in the US.Now new initiatives from a number of different social networks are making these platforms absolutely essential for retailers that want to drive sales and boost engagement.
- Social is driving much bigger increases in retail traffic than any other online channel. Social media increased its share of e-commerce referrals nearly 200% between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015.
- For retailers to maintain these social gains, they will need to pay special attention to mobile, where social engagement with retail content is still limited. Social media users are 35% less likely to share a brand's or retailer's social post on mobile than they are on desktop computers.
- Facebook continues to grow its lead as the dominant social commerce platform. Facebook accounts for 50% of total social referrals and 64% of total social revenue. The site's changing demographics could make older consumers a strong target for retailers leveraging the platform.
- Pinterest is a major social commerce player despite a relatively small user base. The pinning platform drives 16% of social revenue despite an audience 6.5 times smaller than Twitter. New buy and action buttons on retailer posts should make Pinterest an even stronger referral and revenue engine for brands.
- Twitter is losing its influence for mass-market merchants, but it could still have a role to play among sporting and events marketers, especially for location-based promotions. Recently, NFL and NBA teams have used Twitter to sell game tickets and merchandise.
- Instagram doesn't drive significant sales activity for retailers but high-end companies have been leveraging the platform for branding purposes. New Buy buttons on paid posts, as well as increased targeting capabilities, could make the app a more important direct-response driver.
In full, the report:
- Sizes social media's role for retailers compared to other referral sources such as search and email.
- Examines how social media's transition to mobile is impacting the role of different social platforms.
- Looks at how the different social networks stack up in terms of conversion rates, share of social-generated retail sales, and average order value.
- Highlights up-and-coming social commerce players such as Snapchat and Instagram, and how brands are using them for influencer marketing.
- Outlines the latest major commerce moves by Facebook and Twitter, which could help drive up conversion rates from social.
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