Consumers are starting to consider social media a less important part of their buying journey compared with two years ago. According to a global report by Capgemini, it seems the hype around social media in the retail sector has been just that, as consumers are not as interested in engaging in social media as part of their shopping experience.
The Digital Shopper Relevancy Report, which surveyed 18,000 digital shoppers from 18 countries, looked at online retail habits and showed that what was on the rise was shoppers' interest in using a smartphone as part of the shopping journey.
Compared with 2012, shoppers put less importance on following their favorite retailers on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Conversely, the study showed that conventional retail store experiences, the Web, mobile, email and in-store technologies were growing in importance.
"Despite the surge in Facebook's ad revenues and marketing innovations like Twitter's new 'Buy' button, there is definitely a question mark over where and how 'social' fits into the shopper journey," said Kees Jacobs, global digital proposition leader, Capgemini Digital Customer Experience. "Social media is most relevant in the 'awareness' and 'choice' phases of shopping journeys (which is especially the case in fashion) but much less in 'transaction, delivery and post-sales.' Our report suggests that retailers still have work to do at every stage of the purchasing journey in order to make social media play a useful, valuable role in buying a product or service."
However, is social media really losing relevancy? It's hard to gauge how well social media can influence purchasing because the intent to buy is different than actual behavior, that is unless a retailer can track social media activity through to purchase, reported Forbes.
Another study recently released by Collective Bias reported the strength that social media platform Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has with consumer purchasing. The study revealed that fans of retailers spend almost 50 percent more than non-Facebook fans over time. And social shopping site Soldsie recently entered into a partnership with Facebook that provides retailers with a platform used to transform the social community into a revenue-generating channel.
Seventy-two percent of shoppers see the physical store as important or very important compared to 67 percent for the Internet. Only 14 percent of shoppers strongly indicate that physical stores have become less important.
But customers are definitely looking toward online for the future. As many as 51 percent said they will spend more money online than in-store in the near future. Perhaps some of this is due to the fact that 72 percent of shoppers agree or strongly agree that online pricing will be lower than in-store or catalogues.
-See this Capgemini press release
-See this Forbes article
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