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Retailers double following on social media sites

The popularity and uptake of retail brands on social networking sites shows no signs of slowing down with the majority retailers more than doubling their following on various social media platforms over the past six months.

New research from market research specialists, eDigitalResearch shows that Facebook remains the most popular site for retailers to connect with online users, with Topshop now actively engaged with well over 1 million customers via the site.

When looking at Twitter the study found that Topshop had taken the top spot again, whilst companies across other retail sectors made significant improvements. Pure-play ‘etailers’ ASOS and Amazon have taken significant advantage of their online customer base to come second and third, investing heavily in the platform with numerous branded pages dedicated to various aspects of the business, including customer service. Derek Eccleston, Research Director at eDigitalResearch, comments, “Given the increase in online and mobile activity over recent months, it’s no surprise that the popularity of social media sites has increased. Our research clearly shows that consumers are increasingly using the platforms to communicate issues and ideas to retailers, and with ASOS set to open Europe’s first Facebook store, it is vital that brands have a strong presence on these sites. What retailers need to ensure, however, is that they are making the most of these loyal and dedicated online users to gain feedback, insight and create brand advocates with an innovative and effective social media strategy, which is constantly monitored”.

Encouragingly, the study also found several retailers who had no social media presence in the last study have now have established Facebook or Twitter campaigns. Supermarket Sainsbury’s has rapidly increased its following on both sites, with an innovative and effective social media campaign, providing industry best practice for others to follow suit. Fostering interaction with recipe ideas and exclusive content, the grocery store also actively invites users to give feedback through discussions and quick polls, gaining insight and understanding the wants and needs of their online customer.

Worryingly some retailers still have limited or no presence on social media sites. The majority of fashion retailers aimed at an older demographic or home and leisure brands all scored particularly low. The challenge for these brands going forward will be to find engaging content that will encourage their core target market to actively log on and get involved.

Source : The Retail Bulletin

25 January 2011
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