Report Highlights Mobile and Social Media Opportunities

Mobile commerce and social media both offer opportunities for retailers and brands, but getting it right is trickier than it seems. That’s the verdict of a report just released by Shoppercentric, an independent agency specialising in shopper research.

The report found that 38 per cent of men have a smartphone (compared to 29 per cent of women), while 60 per cent of women use Facebook (compared to 52 per cent of men). 14 per cent of men use mobile apps that support shopping, compared to eight per cent of women. Only nine per cent of consumers are following brands on social media and just six per cent make a purchase. 37 per cent of respondents said that they didn’t see the point of brands using social media, while 18 per cent said the same of retailers. 

Other findings include:

  • Only one in three consumers visit brand websites, compared to three in four visiting retailer websites.
  • 63 per cent of consumers visit a retailer’s or brand’s website to make a purchase compared with just six per cent through social media. 
  • The main reason for consumers wanting to reach out to and connect with a company through social media is to find out something new (32 per cent). They were both equally as likely to want brand/retailers to connect with them (23 per cent) as they were to want brand/retailers to sell to them (24 per cent). Interestingly 12 per cent also wanted the brands/retailers to help them have more fun.
  • The most popular answer from respondents as to why they think brands/retailers were present on social media, was that they were there to sell more products (54 per cent). 43 percent thought that both were there “because everyone else is”.  
  • The biggest reason for consumers to follow a brand or retailer on social media was to feel part of a group (32 per cent). 29 per cent also follow them to share thoughts and be a part of a forum. 10 per cent said it was to get discounts, vouchers or promotions, and 6 per cent to make a complaint.
  • The most popular social networking platform was Facebook with 56 per cent. (Only 56? Ed.)
  • 27 percent of male consumers visited price comparison sites, compared to 19 per cent of women. 

“The use of social networking and mobile commerce in the business context is still in its early stages of development,” says Shoppercentric managing director, Danielle Pinnington. “However, as these figures are suggesting, the gender and age divides between these social and mobile platforms could be put to good use by retailers to better target and engage their customers.

“There also seems to be a fundamental barrier in consumers/shoppers minds as to why they should communicate directly with a brand, or why a brand would want to communicate directly with them.  That doesn’t mean they won’t communicate with brands, it simply means brands need to work much harder to set up and maintain the connection.  Brands need to think hard about what they want to share, not just what they want to get out of the conversation.”