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September 14, 2012

Retailers’ Social Media Use Drives Spending

Retailers’ social media activities are driving impulse spending, a new study has found.

Thirty-six percent of fans have tried new products after seeing a retailer post, according to a September 2012 report from Ryan Partnership. Thirty-two percent of those who follow a brand on social media also reported being influenced to try a new product.

Social media activity influences more than direct fans and followers, a recent Ipsos report found. Eighteen percent of U.S. consumers, 23 percent of which were under 35, purchased a brand because their friends like or follow the brand on a social network.

Retailers’ status updates also persuade fans to either make unplanned purchases or spend more than planned, data from the Ryan Partnership study revealed.

The breakdown:

• 22 percent of those following retailers through social media admit they have been influenced to make unplanned purchases while 15 percent report having spent more than they planned.

• Shopping apps convinced 21 percent of users to make unplanned purchases and 15 percent to spend more than they had planned.

• Retailer texts influenced 20 percent of shoppers into an unplanned purchase and 14 percent to spend more.

• Other influential digital tools were: brands’ social media updates (17 percent and 10 percent, respectively); daily deal sites (17 percent and eight percent); and QR codes and bar code readers (14 percent and 11 percent).

Influencing store choice

Retailers’ social media updates also have a major impact on store choice among users, the study found.

• Forty-four percent say posts have influenced their store choice.

• Product reviews and recommendations and pre-shop brand sites have influenced 42 percent while shopping apps came in at 40 percent.

• Pre-site retailer sites and retailer e-mails were both 37 percent effective while brands’ social media posts influenced 36 percent.

Digital Tool Use Surges

Several of the digital retail tools examined in the report have doubled or tripled in usage in the 18 months since the previous Ryan Partnership survey.

• A whopping 64 percent of shoppers reported using retailer sites when shopping or planning to shop, compared to 28 percent in 2010.

• Downloadable coupons have also surged in popularity — 61 percent this year, up from 28 percent.

• Retailer e-mails came in at 53 percent, more than doubling in usage from the previous 25 percent.

• Reviews and recommendations tripled in usage, from 12 percent to 36 percent.

• Mobile coupons came in at 18 percent, up more than three times from five percent in 2010.

• Retailer texts are now used by 16 percent, also more than triple 2010′s five percent.