Should retailers opt for Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook?

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Retail firms that are relying on social media networks to boost their sales could be wasting their time. Portals like Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook have millions of monthly users, but only a small percentage are actually buying from retailers.

According to a recent study by The E-Tailing Group, these platforms contribute less than two per cent of the total traffic to retailers’ websites. Moreover, half of the retailers surveyed said that less than one per cent of the diverted traffic made a purchase during their visit.

“The majority of consumers for the majority of products don’t want to conduct transactions on these social networks,” said Razorfish’s Vice President for commerce strategy Jason Goldberg.

Despite the weak figures, social media sites are still considered lucrative marketing platforms due to their massive user base, especially Facebook. However, the social media giant’s initial efforts at e-commerce were unsuccessful.

“None of what Facebook has done has given me a clear indication that there’s a high volume of consumers who want to conduct a transaction,” Goldberg noted.

This did not stop J.C. Penney and GNC from rolling out their online stores on Facebook, allowing users to buy items and share what they bought with friends.

In contrast, Twitter’s venture into social commerce has recently gained momentum. Earlier this month, it launched AmazonCart, which allows users to add merchandise directly to their Amazon shopping carts via their Twitter account.

Pinterest appears to have the greatest potential in e-commerce thanks to its appealing displays and product-oriented approach. In fact, investors gave it a US$5 billion market valuation.

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