Social media is gaining traction among consumers at an alarming rate, according to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study. Pinterest is foremost among consumers’ choices of social media outlets to engage with merchants.
Online consumers in the U.S. already follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on Pinterest, compared to the average 6.9 retailers they follow on Facebook and the 8.5 retailers they track via Twitter. Nearly two out of five (38%) online consumers follow retailers through one or more social networking sites.
Merchants who have customized their social and mobile strategies have found social commerce success, the study shows. The study found that company blogs, YouTube and Facebook account for the majority of consumers’ social activity. For example, 70% of consumers who follow a retailer’s blog click through to the website, and 68% use YouTube to browse and research a retail company.
“Retailers have done a commendable job embracing social media – engaging their customers where it makes sense while keeping their brand relevant, interesting, appealing and exciting on each platform,” Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell said. “Specifically, Pinterest has given retailers another channel to listen to and interact with both existing and new customers, telling an ongoing visual story through images of their products and their brand spirit, a story that customers can then tell again to their friends and family members.”
More than 50% of consumers indicated they follow retailers on social media platforms to obtain information on deals and coupons – which is down from 58% last year. Four in 10 (43%) said they are looking for product information and 36% want to post/read comments about merchandise or services.
What’s more, three in 10 consumers who follow retailers via social media say they are looking for information about events (34%), current trends and ideas (31%), or photos and videos (30%), such as “how-to’s” and styling ideas, as well as expert opinions (27%).
As for smart phone users, the study found that 33% share their location with retailers. Location-based services, such as Groupon Now!, FourSquare and Facebook have effectively helped retailers reach new and existing customers by targeting special offers, discounts and coupons to their mobile devices.
The study found that men are more likely than women to share their location with a retailer (40% vs. 25%, respectively), and nearly half (46%) of those aged 18-34 say they have shared their location, compared to just two in 10 (22%) of those aged 35-54.
Smart phone users are most likely to use their device for social reasons – like contacting friends and family about products they see and searching for items nearby — while tablet users are more likely to make purchases and comparison shop, according to the study.
Nearly four in 10 (37%) smart phone owners who shop online say they use their smart phone to take pictures of products and more than one-third (34%) said they send the pictures of the products they see to friends. U.S. online consumers surveyed also say they text/call friends/family about specific products while shopping (33%).
More than 1,500 online U.S. consumers participated in the survey that was conducted in March 2012 by comScore. The study involved consumer shopping activity and engagement via Facebook, Twitter, customer reviews on websites, group-buying sites and location-based social platforms.