fCommerce grows 8.8% in just four months

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12% of social media users have been encouraged to make a purchase from a Facebook store after seeing something on the site, according to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG.

The results mark an incredible 8.8% growth in fCommerce in just four months as more and more retailers import their website functionality into the social networking site according to eDigitalResearch. The study also found that a staggering 25% of online consumers now log onto Facebook more than once a day, representing a considerable proportion of all shoppers and a massive opportunity for retailers.

The eCSI study also found that an impressive 97% of online shoppers plan to log onto the internet this Christmas to browse and buy gifts. Over a quarter (27%) of consumers will access the internet from their smartphone to browse and buy, whilst another 9% will use their tablet devices to do the same.

Derek Eccleston, Research Director at eDigitalResearch, explains, “This is an exciting Christmas for retailers and marks the first truly multichannel Christmas we’ve seen. We’ve been tracking the growth of smartphones and tablet devices over the past two years and these results show that this will possibly be the first year that Christmas shoppers will be using their social media accounts, smartphones, laptops and tablet devices to buy gifts. The fact that we’ve seen an increase of 8.8% in fCommerce over a very short period of time is no surprise, and retailers continue to use Facebook to talk and sell to their customers”.

Numerous Facebook developments in 2011 have seen an influx of retailers flock to the platform in an effort to connect and communicate with customers. The introduction of check-ins and Facebook deals earlier in the year allowed retailers to provided localised information and offers to customers, whilst the recent tweaks to photo tagging and timelines gives retailers the potential to connect beyond their immediate fan base and towards friends of customers as well.

The results also highlight the rising influence that both social media and customer reviews are having on consumer buying behaviour. 61% of the consumers surveyed have recently been influenced by a negative product or customer review on a website or social networking site, marking the importance for retailers to ensure they provide a seamless shopping experience with exceptional customer support.

David J Smith, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at IMRG, commented, “Facebook and other social media sites play a crucial role for retailers in terms of engagement with consumers. Although these results reveal that 12% have been encouraged to make a purchase through Facebook, the channel is about far more than recording sales. Social networks have become an integral part of the internet and consumers feel that they can trust opinions on the platform as they are those of their friends and family. With 61% saying that they have been influenced by a negative review, managing the perception of a retailer’s brand has never been so important or so difficult”.

Survey information
The eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) survey of 2,000 consumers was conducted between the 13th and 15th October 2011 using a nationally representative sample from a consumer omnibus.

Media Contacts
IMRG, Andy Mulcahy, Tel: +44 (0) 207 189 8373, Email: market(at)imrg9dot)org, Web: http://www.imrg.org     
eDigitalResearch, Lisa Bonczyk, Tel: +44 (0) 1489 772920, Email: lisa.b(at)edigitalresearch(dot)com, Web: http://www.edigitalresearch.com
About eDigitalResearch
eDigitalResearch are research specialists with expertise in online business. When you have to make critical business decisions – we can give you the precise multichannel insight and informed direction you need. Surveys, panels and communities combine to provide holistic insight which gives clients the confidence and evidence to make crucial decisions on product range, marketing, customer service, supply chain and even basic positioning. For more information please visit http://www.edigitalresearch.com or email info(at)edigitalresearch(dot)com

About IMRG
IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is the UK’s industry association for e-retail. Formed in 1990, IMRG is setting and maintaining pragmatic and robust e-retail standards to enable fast-track industry growth, and facilitates its community of members with practical help, information, tools, guidance and networking. Consumers can be confident when dealing with IMRG Members because all interact in an environment where they are encouraged to operate using methods that are Honest, Decent, Legal, Truthful and Fair, and have undertaken to not bring the industry into disrepute. The strength of IMRG is the collective and cooperative power of its members. For more information please visit http://www.imrg.org/ or email membership(at)imrg(dot)org

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Lisa Bonczyk