Computer Business Review

Facebook fails to deliver for retail fan pages

Tineka Smith

17:19, January 16 2012

A study reveals that social networks had little influence on holiday shopping purchases

Social networking site Facebook has seen a surge in companies creating fan pages in hopes that users' will be attracted to purchase something derived from their fan page.

A study by Baynote has revealed that only 9% of US shoppers surveyed purchased a product from a retailer's fan page on Facebook. In the United States Facebook is currently the number one website.

Retail websites came out on top with 59% saying they used direct retail websites to purchase items during the holidays. Smartphones were also a popular medium to purchase products with 14% reporting they used one. The tablet was used by only 8% of shoppers but wasn't too far behind Facebook with the site's reported 9%.

Facebook took another hit as 80% of shoppers surveyed said that social networking sites had no influence over their purchases meaning that retailer fan pages saw less action than anticipated over the holiday season.

Search engines proved to be popular amongst consumers as 93% said they researched an online product then purchased it in a store. Smartphone and tablets are predicted to grow as a medium for online purchasing as 21% of smartphone users said they plan to purchase and research products in the future on their smartphones and 60% of tablet users said the same.

Overall the study revealed that Facebook scored a disappointing C+ for various aspects of online shopping including privacy. Retail websites, however, scored an A- while smartphones and tables scored a safe B-.

If businesses want to try and make the most out of retail fan pages perhaps making certain products available for purchase through social networking instead of in store or on ecommerce sites may help; but as purchasing through Facebook hasn't been faring well in general the most profit seems to lie in e-commerce websites and smartphones.

The full report, including charts and graphs detailing the results, can be found here.


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