Ebay: Retail sales driven by social media

24-Aug-2012

If you keep your ear to the ground (and we like to think that we do) you'll know that all the retail news is awash with news of ebay's social media study.

According to the study commissioned by ebay UK retail sales directly attained via social media are forecast to grow to £290m by 2014 from £210m.

The study also predicts that in 2014 £3bn worth of retail sales will be influenced by some form of social media. The study suggests that personalisation is key. Social media allows martketeers to target a specific demographic and more so, the demographic is narrower than ever before. It is this personalisation that will push marketeers and in particular retail marketeers towards social media. The study has produced extremely convincing stats to back up their claims. They state that 46% of social media users are using social media whilst thinking about making and purchase and that 40% are already making retail decisions based on what they see on social media. A large element influencing these purchasing decisions is the use of reviews and recommendations synonymously and successfully used by companies such as Amazon. HSBC have even launched a new social media site called 'point of view' where customers are invited to share their opinions on the brand and make suggestions in regards to improvements that they could be making. HSBC claim that they want their customers "to create the bank." Certainly a very social concept indeed.

It's every web savvy individuals dream to create the next Facebook and social media sites and apps are being created daily. Many fail to reach the dizzy heights of Facebook and Twitter, unable to generate revenue or develop a unique usp. However Experian Hitwise have recently published a coinciding study that shows that Pinterest has managed to increase it's following to such a degree that it is now the 4th biggest social media network in the US and the 14th biggest in England. There is also evidence that Pinterest is being used more successfully then social media giant Facebook; in terms of driving sales. Another social media site on the rise was Instegram. In terms of marketing the site appears to have huge scope for large retail brands, with 40% of the brands on the interbrand 100 having an account (Simply Measured.)

Companies such as Panasonic are also building a rapport with customers by using their most passionate Twitter followers in an ad campaign. Of course there are counter claims such as the backlash against f-marketing (Facebook marketing) and claims that users are turing away from the site as a response. However, the power of social media cannot be denied. Times are most certainly a changing and we at Railston are seeing the effect in store also. We are being asked more and more frequently to integrate technology within our stores and this is just the start... Is social media the key to revitalizing bricks and mortar shopping? We think it just might be... It seems that the clouds the limit! (Sorry couldn't resist.)