Online retailers rank among the industry's most socially savvy companies and outperform their competition when it comes to engaging shoppers on digital platforms.
Brandwatch's Social Outlook Report looked at 15 different industries and the social interaction with customers of 450 brands.
Retail came in at No. 5 and the report addresses both the challenges and opportunity related to social media in reaching customers along the winding and inconsistent path to purchase.
"There’s no clear, beaten path to follow anymore; since no single customer’s buyer journey is the same, retailers need to think smarter about how they communicate with their audiences," noted the report. "Simple social marketing won’t suffice for national or global retailers competing with one another to be the most in-tune with their consumers. Learning where your consumers are most engaged with your brand and what resonates with them is essential in retail success."
Roughly 80 percent of consumers are researching products online before buying in a store, and 41 percent look at products in stores and then buy online.
Amazon tops the list of retailers in terms of general online visibility and social visibility for the highest overall ranking. EBay came is second overall, followed by Tesco, Nike and Walmart.
Close to 65 percent of U.S. adults use social media. How brands interact with them on these platforms is critical to forming relationships and making positive impressions.
Perhaps more notable than even those that excel are those that are absent, as the report found "numerous" organizations in nearly every industry that failed to respond to a single social mention during the three months of the study.