Retailers Lag on Social Commerce

“Fish where the fish are,” the saying goes, but apparently no one shared this wisdom with big retailers, who are lagging behind when it comes to promoting and selling their products on social platforms. That’s according to finds from Kenshoo and DataPop, presented in their first “Search and Social Commerce Index” report.

Kenshoo and DataPop analyzed 2.9 million products sold by over 40 major retailers, and found that just 1.7% of those products were posted by retailers across social commerce channels. Even among categories that are particularly well-suited to social commerce, including fashion and home products, the proportion posted to social commerce sites was just 7.2%.

The report also noted that a large majority of retailers (70%) fail to customize the content they post on social media to emphasize key attributes that consumers care about, including for example color, style and materials. Instead most retailers simply post the specific product name in the titles of their social posts, without further description, even though most consumers are using more specific criteria. The report advises, “retailers should tailor their content to better engage with consumers by testing which attributes to emphasize in social commerce posts.”



These findings are broadly in line with other recent research suggesting that retailers have been slow to adopt social commerce. In May I wrote about a study by Custora, which looked at orders to retail Web sites in the first quarter of the year to determine where the orders originated. Overall, Custora found that just 1% of orders to retail Web sites originated from social media in the first quarter of 2014. That was actually down from 2% in the first quarter of 2013. In the first quarter of 2014, much larger proportions originated from organic search, 24% -- the same as the previous year.

Similarly, in December 2013 IBM analyzed sales from Black Friday and found that, while ecommerce sales rose 19.7% on Thanksgiving Day and 18.9% the following day compared to the year before, online sales from social sites contributed just 1% of total traffic to e-commerce sites.
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