Company News • 23.10.2015

Social media remains an important tool for retailers

Almost all online retailers use social media

This is what the integration of a buying option on Facebook could look like....
This is what the integration of a buying option on Facebook could look like.
Source: Facebook

Social media is a great way to stay in touch with customers and to respond quickly to questions and problems. This has also been recognized by many German retailers. Online retailers in particular are focusing on social media.

According to a recent study by the EHI Retail Institute in collaboration with Statista almost all German online shops are active in social networks. The network most used is Facebook (which is also the network used by the most customers). 90.5 percent of the retailers have an account here. A surprising result: With 78.2 percent Google+ is the second most widely used network - which, however, is not reflected in the number of users on the customer side. Here Google's own network can be seen as not really significant. Many retailers also maintain a Twitter account (72.2 percent) and 69.1 percent are also active on YouTube.

The study also shows that many fans only want to follow the major brands and shops on social networks. A relatively small number of shops has very high numbers of fans, the majority of shops only reaches a relatively small number of customers. Thus it can be said that the larger the shop, the wider it’s reach in the social web.

Opportunities for direct purchase offer new potential - also on Facebook?

Given the number of users it can be considered safe - according to the study - that there is no significant growth potential left. But new approaches should allow retailers to make more of their own social media presence. The authors of the study see those potentials mainly in direct shopping offers within the networks, like Pinterest provides with its "buyable pins" and Instagram does with the "shop now" button.

Whether this direct integration of a buying opportunity will actually be received well by users is by no means certain. Facebook already experimented with something like that several years ago but has let the project rest last due to negative feedback. According to a report of futurebiz.de shop integration into the mobile views of Facebook pages is currently tested once again, with the network also using "buy buttons.

Reaction of users remains to be seen

Despite the negative experiences of Facebook, it looks very much like online shops could open up new potential by integrating the buying opportunity in social networks. Users are surfing on these pages anyway to inform themselves about brands, companies and products. Direct shopping in the social network, therefore, seems like a logical next step. But it still remains to be seen how the operators will implement these options and how the corresponding features are received by users.

Author: Daniel Stöter, iXtenso.com

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