Survey: Merchants Rank Social Media Success By Number Of Fans, Not ROI

Retailers remain in the early stages of social media marketing and are hesitant to look for an ROI from their social initiatives, according to Q1 research from the e-tailing group. The number of Facebook fans (78%) or Twitter followers (61%) are the measure of social media success for the majority of retail respondents, as reported in the “10th Annual Merchants Survey,” conducted in Q1 2011.

Retail respondents also found click-throughs from social media to retail sites (53%) and sales from social networks (47%) as strong indicators of social media success.

It’s no surprise that Facebook is dominating the social ecommerce arena. A total of 82% of respondents currently run a Facebook fan page; 52% use a “like” button on product pages; and 43% use Facebook Connect.


Mobile Initiatives On The Rise
Mobile initiatives are primarily focused on m-Commerce web sites and iPhone applications. While the largest percentage of ecommerce retailers (39%) are planning to invest less than $26,000 in the segment in 2011, 16% are budgeting more than $100,000.

Both mobile commerce (68%) and mobile applications (61%) are a priority for the majority of retailers.

The Customer Remains In Charge
The word “Customer” is featured in the top 4 strategic initiatives for online retailers: Customer Experience (96%), Customer Service (95%), Customer Acquisition (94%) and Customer Retention (94%). These priorities are consistent compared to 2010 numbers.

“By keeping your customer in mind you will always be on target, ensuring delivery of the best possible customer experience,” noted Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group.

eCommerce Remains A Smart Investment
Internet revenues continue to rise and grow as profit centers for retail companies. A total of 90% of merchants expect Internet revenues to increase in 2011 over 2010; and 46% believe Internet revenues will increase by more than 16%.

With that in mind, retailers are increasing their investments in eCommerce (69% vs. 66% in 2010). But more impressive is the fact that 27% of retail companies are planning to invest “significantly more” in eCommerce in 2011, up from just 7% in 2010.

To complete its research, the e-tailing group polled 200 eCommerce retailers, asking 57 different questions. For more information on the report, go to

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