Conventional wisdom maintains that a significant proportion of retail sales will take place through the use of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
However, although evidence is still limited and sketchy, the assumption is being challenged by many of Britain’s leading outlets.
“Our sales, which are measured on a last click basis, through social media channels are very low,” said Pak Lam, senior data analyst at John Lewis.
Customer insight manager for Asos, Reena Sareen commented: “Social media is hyped up and is not as good as it appears.”
When approached for comment, Asos said the comment made by Reena Sareen did not represent the views of the company as a whole.
There are a number of stages in a customer journey leading up to conversion and Facebook’s targeted reach platform does enable retailers to deliver relevant messages to consumers. However, social media’s effectiveness to drive sales for retailers has proved to draw mixed feelings from many.
According to the US census, e-commerce sales consisted of 7 per cent of total retail sales for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2013. Global data from Rich Relevance, who analysed 1.5bn online shopping sessions, found that less than 0.5 per cent of all online sales were conducted through social media channels in Q4 2013. Sessions are defined as clicks that come from a social networking recommendation – users that went to a retailer’s website through Facebook or Pinterest – rather than originating from the retailer itself.
As a retailer, what is your experience of using social media?