Sunday, September 20, 2009

Retailers Rapidly Adopting Social Media

Multichannel Merchant reports: The penetration of social media tools within brand and retailer organizations is extremely high, given the length of time these tools have been around, according to a study released by e-commerce consultancy the e-tailing group and software provider PowerReviews.

Five out of 10 social media tools have been adopted by more than 50% of brands and retailers, with the Facebook Fan Page leading the way (at 86% adoption). The other top tools include Twitter Publishing (65%), customer reviews (55%), blogs (55%) and viral videos (50%).

In addition, the study found three-fourths of the 117 survey respondents feel brands have accelerated their use of, and commitment to, community and social media in the past six months.

Study respondents say that over the next 12 months, they plan to adopt Facebook Connect (31% of respondents), social listening tools (31%), customer reviews (26%) and product suggestions (26%).

Aside from increasing sales, the study also found the primary goal for adopting social media was customer engagement (39% of respondents), along with mobilizing advocates to drive “word of mouth” (30%) and increasing brand loyalty (21%).

The most striking finding was the reason behind this accelerated adoption, specifically the top three concerns of marketers and merchandisers related to social media. These motivators, which drove the last wave of social media adoption, will also be driving the next wave in the coming year:

1. Brand degradation fear – “people can trash my products in front of large audiences”

2. Competence fear – “I am using outdated marketing/merchandising techniques”

3. Concern – competitive fear – “customer’s inclination to leave their site to find a more socially-engaging site”

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