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Pinterest connecting consumers with brands
Written by Canadian Florist
June 5, 2012, Washington — Customers are using Pinterest to engage with retailers more than Facebook and Twitter, according to the results of a new survey.


According to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study, a joint research project by Shop.org, comScore and The Partnering Group, the visually-based social media site Pinterest has become a big player in an even bigger arena. Online U.S. consumers report that they already follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on the site, compared to the average 6.9 retailers they follow on Facebook and the 8.5 retailers they track via Twitter. Overall, almost two out of five online consumers (38 per cent) follow retailers through one or more social networking sites.

For retailers engaged in the social media sphere, customizing their approach with social and mobile strategies is leading to social commerce success. The report reveals that as social media continues to grow, retailers are actively evaluating where their customers want them to be.

The survey found company blogs, YouTube and Facebook command the majority of consumers’ social activity. In particular, seven in 10 (70 per cent) of those who follow a retailer’s blog click through to the website, and though sometimes overlooked in the overall social media mix, more than two-thirds of consumers (68 per cent) use YouTube to browse and research a retail company.

“Retailers have done a commendable job embracing social media – engaging their customers where it makes sense while keeping their brand relevant, interesting, appealing and exciting on each platform,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “Specifically, 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 their brand ‘spirit,' a story that customers can then tell again to their friends and family members.”

When it comes to what spurs consumers to follow retailers on social media platforms, the study found that finding good deals is still the leading reason, but deals and promotions have lost a little bit of their luster. This year, 51 per cent say they follow a retailer to get information on deals and coupons, down from 58 per cent who said so last year. Four in 10 (43 per cent) say they are looking for product information and 36 per cent want to post and read comments about merchandise or services. Additionally, three in 10 consumers who follow retailers via social media say they are actively looking for information about events (34 per cent), current trends and ideas (31 per cent), or photos and videos (30 per cent), such as how-to’s and styling ideas, and expert opinions (27 per cent).

Smartphones enable social shopping

Smartphone-toting Americans seem to have no qualms about sharing their locations with friends and family members through social media channels.

The study also found they are interested in sharing their location with retailers. One-third of those who own smartphones (33 per cent) say they have shared their location with retailers. Location-based services, such as Groupon Now!, FourSquare and Facebook have helped 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 of comScore, Inc. "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."

The study found that men are more likely than women to share their location with a retailer (40 per cent vs. 25 per cent, respectively), and nearly half (46 per cent) of those aged 18 to 34 say they have shared their location, compared to just two in 10 (22 per cent) of those aged 35 to 54.

In very different ways, tablets and smartphones are still an integral part of the average person’s shopping experience these days. The survey found those with smartphones are most likely to use their device for social reasons, such as contacting friends and family about products they see and searching for items nearby, while tablets are more likely to be used to make purchases and comparison shop. Specifically, nearly four in 10 smartphone owners (37 per cent) who shop online say they use their smartphone to take pictures of products and more than one-third (34 per cent) said they send the pictures of the products they see to friends. U.S. online consumers surveyed also say they text and/or call friends and family about specific products while shopping (33 per cent).

The 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study was conducted in March with 1,507 online U.S. consumers. Results were weighted to accurately reflect U.S. demographics.
 
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