EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2220 - February 10, 2010     4 of 5

Study Shows Online Shoppers Look for Sales on Facebook

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Of the 69% of online shoppers who say they use social media sites, more than half (56%) choose to proactively interact with companies on social sites by "friending" or "following" at least one retailer, according to ForeSee Results. However, two-thirds (61%) of online shoppers who interact with companies on social media sites "friend" or "follow" fewer than five companies.

The results come from a study of nearly 10,000 visitors to the biggest e-retail websites in the United States. Key findings included:

  • 56% of shoppers to top e-retail websites who interact with social media websites have elected to "friend" or "follow" or "subscribe" to a retailer on a social networking site like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

  • Facebook is, by far, the best place to reach shoppers - both because it's where they already are, and it's where they want to hear from retailers.

  • Customers mainly interact with retailers on social media sites to learn about products and promotions.

Although more and more companies employ social media (especially Twitter) as a means of answering their customers' technical questions, Foresee Results said its study showed that while technical support is one option essential to the medium, far more people use social networking with retailers to learn about sales and product information; 49% of respondents who "friend" or "follow" companies through social media do so to learn about special deals and options. Close behind, 45% of users do it to learn about products. Only 5% use social media primarily for customer support.

"These findings run somewhat counter to the conventional wisdom that you have to engage users on social media with snappy content and avoid being too "salesy," according to Foresee Results. The report is available on the Foresee Results website.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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