Today, people are hanging out in social networks such as Facebook. The new social media stats for 2012, according to the social strategist Cara Pring on her blog The Social Skinny some of the new social media stats for 2012 sites get 137.6 million unique visitors per month in the USA alone.
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Although social networks are booming, they have not yet taken off on the commerce side. Yet on Facebook, there is the clear ability for merchants to set up stores where customers can actually buy from beginning to end. Facebook has recently launched a “want” button, which is similar to the “like” button but a little more commerce driven, which is likely to spur further commerce activity on the site. Already Facebook accounts for 60% of social media driven purchases by Q2 2012.
In 2013 other social networking sites will start providing an ecommerce component and for good reason: 62% of adults worldwide now use social media, and social networking is the most popular online activity. Twenty two percent of users’ time online is spent on channels like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, the newest social network that is already on its way to involving an ecommerce component.
Even now, it is the third most popular social network in the U.S. behind Twitter and Facebook. It has already been downloaded nearly 250,000 times, and is projected to account for 40% of social media driven purchases by Q2 2012.
Twitter will also start to involve an ecommerce component with good reason: The average Twitter user has 126 followers and it achieves a 1.17% click through rate with 1.4 followers clicking the link. Then there are other channels like brick and mortar stores, web stores, call centers, catalog stores (yes, some retailers still have catalogs), Amazon and eBay.
Internet retailers may also have b-to-b or they may be servicing wholesale and retail. Merchants such as Buy.com, Overstock.com, Sears.com, NewEgg.com and BestBuy.com are probably creating additional outlets. These are all destinations that are aspiring to become a one-stop shop, a place where the retailer not only wants to sell their merchandise but also invite sellers to sell.
Therefore, 2013 will be all about connecting the dots and getting a 360 view of very much empowered customers who want a lot, which includes the expectation that the technology of small and mid-size retailers to service customers is just the same as an Amazon.