How Facebook is Changing Retail

Joshua March CEO & Founder, Conversocial

Posted on November 9th 2011

How Facebook is Changing Retail

The Facebook UK team ran a number of polls recently asking consumers about why they talk about brands, and what they talk about. They found some interesting stats which they presented to a group of retailers and industry partners at a recent event. These have implications for how retailers should be thinking about Facebook and social customer service. Image

What do users want when they become a fan of your page?

  • 46% of users seek news and product information when they become a fan
  • 23% want customer service help and expert advice. 

Customers are going in increasing droves to brand pages to ask questions, seek advice, and ask direct customer service information. They're not just there for deals or to see your latest advert. If you're not listening and responding, you are ignoring and upsetting your customers. If you want to be in social, you must be prepared for a two way conversation. 

Men complain more than women

Facebook found that although the genders are equally likely to share positive experiences, men are two times more likely to vent their negative experiences or complaints in social media than women. This doesn't mean you should give them special treatment, but possibly be aware that an angry man is more likely to be vocal about it. 

44% of users are discovering new products via Facebook

With brand pages and sharing, more and more people are discovering products through the Facebook newsfeed. This is in comparison to 29% for search engines and 16% for the retailers or brands own website. This is a powerful new marketing tool for retailers - but also makes the publc conversations happening on your page even more important to manage, as they can have a real effect on your brand perception.  

A third of users proactively conduct research on Facebook - and 33% of users are most likely to go to the brands Facebook page after seeing a friend’s recommendation on Facebook

In the last decade, customers have become used to be able to read reviews of products online. Now, they can easily ask their friends in Facebook - and go to a brand fan page (or search for them in Twitter) to see what people are saying about products and companies in real time. If you are leaving complaints and questions unanswered and festering on your page, you're not only upsetting the customers you're ignoring - you're also putting off potential new customers.  

Facebook found that the younger demographics are 19% more likely to research a company on their fan page than anyone else - indicating that Facebook is becoming a primary source of brand information. Recently, a Bain study of 3,000 consumers found that those engaged with brands in social spent 20-40% more on those brands than other customers. The interactions and conversations on your page are becoming more and more integral to your brand and your bottom line. Positive comments reverberate around the social graph and have real impact on product discovery and purchasing decisions - but so do negative ones. If you're proactive in monitoring your pages for comments and responding to customer service issues as they come up, this will be recognised - your customers, their friends and the public will see this. Your customer service is becoming as much a part of your brand as the products you sell.  




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Joshua March

CEO & Founder, Conversocial

I'm founder and CEO of Conversocial, the leading provider of social customer service software. I split my time between Conversocial's London and New York offices, working with companies like Barclaycard, Coach, Hertz, JackThreads, Tesco and others to deliver the best possible customer experience through social media channels. Previously, I co-founded iPlatform, the UK’s leading social app development company (and one of the world's first official Facebook Preferred Developer Consultants), which was acquired by Betapond in September 2012.
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