Facebook's mobile push could boost conversions

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) is the top social media site for converting social browsing to sales and is responsible for 85 percent of all orders directed from social sites.

Pinterest is getting a lot of attention as a powerful tool for retailers to engage with shoppers. But according to Shopify, an e-commerce platform that enables individuals and businesses to create online stores, Facebook was responsible for 63 percent of all social media visits to Shopify stores in 2013, or a total of 23.3 million visits.

Shopify looked at 37 million social visits to its client stores, which led to approximately 529,000 total online sales in 2013. Roughly 85 percent of all orders made following social visits came from Facebook, and that represents a 129 percent increase over 2012.

As behavior shifts and mobile usage increases Facebook still commands the majority of consumers' time spent on mobile devices, thanks in large part to the Facebook-owned Instagram, according to app analytics provider, Flurry. Facebook's dominant position could be strengthened with time spent inside WhatsApp.

In February, Facebook announced plans to acquire WhatsApp, a cross-platform mobile messaging company, for approximately $19 billion. WhatsApp allows users to send messages over the internet, bypassing their wireless carrier. More than 450 million people use the service each month, with 70 percent of those people active on a given day.

For retailers trying to reach shoppers, Facebook is still the best social media referral site in terms of sheer numbers of conversions, based on Shopify's research. But not all conversions are created equal: while more visitors arrived on shopping sites from Facebook, it was actually Polyvore which generated the highest average order value of any social site.

Polyvore is a social site similar to Pinterest where members curate products, grouping them into digital lookbooks or mood boards. Users can click through to buy from a retailer's website. Visitors that are directed from Polyvore spent more with Shopify stores than other social sites, spending on average $66.75 per order.

In comparison, Instagram users averaged $65 per order; Pinterest, $58.95; Facebook, $55; and Twitter, $46.29.

The Shopify survey also took a look at several retail categories in which Facebook scored top results. Nearly all photography-related social commerce orders came from the network, and 94 percent of sports and recreation did, too. Drop shipping, pet supplies and jewelry and watches were also top performers.

For more:
-See this TechCrunch article
-See this Shopify infographic

Related stories:
Take it from Sephora, social shopping should be a priority
What social media means to Walmart
Facebook adds 'shop now' button for in-feed shopping
Facebook expands partner categories tailored to retail
Mobile spending projected to rise in 2014

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