fCommerce On The March

12 per cent of social media users have been encouraged to make a purchase from a Facebook store after seeing something on the site, according to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG.

The results mark an 8.8 percentage point growth in fCommerce (Facebook Commerce) in just four months, as more and more retailers import their website functionality into the social networking site.

The study also found that 25 per cent of online consumers now log onto Facebook more than once a day, and that 97 per cent of online shoppers plan to log onto the internet this Christmas to browse and buy gifts. 27 per cent of consumers will access the internet from their smartphone to browse and buy, while another 9 per cent will use their tablet device.

Numerous Facebook developments in 2011 have seen an influx of retailers flock to the platform in an effort to connect and communicate with customers. The introduction of check-ins and Facebook deals earlier in the year allowed retailers to provided localised information and offers to customers, while the recent tweaks to photo tagging and timelines gives retailers the potential to connect beyond their immediate fan base and towards friends of customers as well.

The results also highlight the rising influence that both social media and customer reviews are having on consumer buying behaviour. 61 per cent of the consumers surveyed said they have recently been influenced by a negative product or customer review on a website or social networking site.

“Facebook and other social media sites play a crucial role for retailers in terms of engagement with consumers,” says IMRG chief marketing & communications officer, David J Smith. “Although these results reveal that 12 per cent have been encouraged to make a purchase through Facebook, the channel is about far more than recording sales. Social networks have become an integral part of the internet, and consumers feel that they can trust opinions on the platform, as they are those of their friends and family. With 61 per cent saying that they have been influenced by a negative review, managing the perception of a retailer’s brand has never been so important or so difficult.”