Social-Media, Mobile Shopping Becoming the Norm

Courtesy of Pinterest

Shoppers’ use of Pinterest to connect to retailers has exceeded both their Facebook and Twitter use, according to the 2012 “Social and Mobile Commerce Study”—a joint research project by the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org division, digital business-analytics firm comScore and global-strategy and management consulting firm The Partnering Group.

Pinterest, a visual social-media platform, has already generated exceptional interest by consumers following retailers as individual Pinterest users are following an average 9.3 retail companies compared to the average 6.9 retailers they follow on Facebook and 8.5 retailers they track via Twitter.

“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 brand spirit—a story that customers can then tell again to their friends and family members,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell.

Overall, 38% of online consumers follow retailers through one or more social-networking sites.

The survey also found that company blogs, YouTube and Facebook command the majority of consumers’ social activity. Particularly: 70% of consumers who follow a retailer’s blog click through to the website; while 68% of consumers use YouTube to browse and research a retail company.

Not surprisingly, finding good deals, such as coupons, is still the leading reason for consumers following retailers online—although the reason has declined since last year, from 58% to 51%. Additionally:

  • 43% of consumers are looking for product information
  • 36% want to post/read comments about merchandise or services
  • 34% are actively looking for information about events
  • 31% are looking for current trends and ideas
  • 30% are looking for photos and videos, e.g., how-tos and styling ideas
  • 27% are looking for expert opinions

[Image: Courtesy of Pinterest]

Social-Media, Mobile Shopping Becoming the Norm, p.2

Smartphone shoppers are also avidly sharing their location with friends, family and retailers. In particular, 33% of smartphone owners say they have shared their location with retailers. And location-based services, such as Groupon Now!, FourSquare and Facebook, are effectively helping retailers instantly reach new and existing customers by targeting special offers, discounts and coupons to their mobile devices once they’ve “checked-in.”

“For retailers, the possibilities are endless when it comes to enticing smartphone owners who may be within a few feet of their store or even already in the store, thanks to technology that lets shoppers who want to hear from retailers instantly interact with them,” said Jennifer Vlahavas, senior director at comScore. "And while check-in and store-location functionality are already gaining popularity, retailers have only just scratched the surface of using location data to better serve their customers. In-store shopping maps and customized shopping lists are a few of the possibilities that will cater to the consumer."

Additional details from the study include:

  • Smartphones are more likely to be used for social reasons, such as contacting friends and family about products, as well as searching for nearby items
  • Tablets are more likely to be used to make purchases and comparison shop
  • 46% of consumers aged 18 to 34 have shared their location, versus 22% of consumers aged 35 to 54
  • 40% of men are likely to share their location with a retailer, versus 25% of women
  • 37% of smartphone owners who shop online use their smartphone to take pictures of products
  • 34% said they send pictures of products they see to friends
  • 33% of respondents said they text/call friends/family about specific products while shopping

More than 1,500 online U.S. consumers participated in the survey in March; representative U.S. online adult-consumer demographics were sought.