Consumers are more likely to follow you on Pinterest or Twitter than they are on Facebook, a new study shows.
According to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study–a joint research project by the National Retail Federation's Shop.org, comScore and The Partnering Group consultancy–customers say they were following fewer retailers because of concerns about information sharing and privacy. But when they did follow, more often they're doing so on online bulletin board Pinterest.
The survey polled some 1,500 consumers on their social media interactions. Respondents say they follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on Pinterest as opposed to 8.5 on Twitter and 6.9 on Facebook. If your company is spending the bulk of its social media effort on Facebook, you may want to reconsider. Nor should you overlook YouTube: More than two-thirds of consumers, or 68 percent, reported using it to browse and research a retail company.
The Upshot of Pinterest
According to Vicki Cantrell, executive director of online retailer association Shop.org, "Pinterest has given retailers another channel to 'listen' to and interact with both existing and new customers, telling an ongoing visual story through images of their products and their brand spirit, a story that customers can then tell again to their friends and family members."
And if you think deals and coupons will hook shoppers via social media, think again, the study suggests. A separate study last month revealed Facebook fans prefer a softer sell: The word "event" engaged more people than "contest" or "promotion" did.
Why do people follow brands? Apart from deals (still the top reason, though not by as wide a margin as it has been in the past), 43 percent of customers said they follow companies for product information. Over a third (36 percent) said they want to post and read comments about merchandise or services.
Shopping by Smartphone
The report also shows that mobile devices are making shopping more social. Some 37 percent of smartphone owners say they use their phones to take pictures of products, and 34 percent say they sent the pictures they see to friends. Respondents reported using their tablets, not their phones, to buy and comparison shop.
About one-third of those surveyed say they share their location with retailers via smartphone. Men were almost twice as likely to tell retailers where they are: 40 percent compared with 22 percent of women. Social shopping is more popular among those ages 18 to 34 with nearly half (46 percent) of consumers in that age group saying they share their location with shops (compared with 22 percent of those ages 35 to 54).
Jennifer Vlahavas, senior director of comScore, says that there are significant new opportunities for retailers to entice smartphone owners who may be within a few feet of their store. She adds that savvy retailers are already starting to capitalize on location data with in-store shopping maps, customized shopping lists and other emerging mobile technologies.
Do you use YouTube or Pinterest? If so, how?
Image by OPEN Forum