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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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VJ VJ eCommerce Director

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Abandon Digital Marketing for Social? Think again!

Online-Shoppers-Look-for-Experience-when-browsing"Seeing is Believing" - a very well known quote, which pops in our head, when we are not just 100% sure what to make out of things we just learned or heard. Since today "I believe it when I see it" plays now also a role in the correlation between Social Media influence and a buyers behavior, looking at the just released research data from Foresee Results .

Even so more than 500 million people know, use, live and breath Facebook the Foresee survey is revealing some numbers, which may shock the one or other among us. I guess especially the self-proclaimed and hyped-catapulted Social Media Gurus need some oxygen right now, when I open the can of worms - just promise me you won't faint, please.

According to a customer satisfaction survey, conducted at the 40 top Internet retailers just 5% (read my lips please "F-I-V-E") of the shoppers were influenced by the retailer's social media channel or outlet to visit the particular store! So, how did consumers actually decide get onto the retailer's website and to find their way to their designated retail shopping experience?

Social Media Evangelists, please stay calm....

19 percent those surveyed actually followed tips and links generated though promotional emails, when on the other hand 8 percent just visited Google or any other search engine to get the desired destination link. Even so Social Media is still growing it was for the year 2010 and the retail industry not the influential tipping point for consumers.

The nearly 10,000 survey responses, which were collected in a 2 week time frame (11/29 to 12/15/2010) targeted shoppers who purchased from the 40 Top Internet Retailers. Deciding factors in the questionnaire were Price, Merchandise, Website content, and Website functionality.

Who ended up "where"?

  • Best in class: Amazon and Netflix were ranked with Highest Satisfaction Scores on the shopper's end
  • Need to improve: Sears and TigersDirect scored the lowest points in satisfaction (not only the lightning at Sears stores seemed to miss the mark)
  • Considering all stores surveyed the overall satisfaction results showed 78 points out of 100 points possible (which s one point lower than 2009's survey)

The responses showed also that most likely the "website experience" was an important factor for shoppers rather than the price. The price savvy shoppers were most likely found on websites of HSN, Office Depot, Office Max, HP and Cabella and expected to find offers as their top priority. Content as a top priority was found in William-Sonoma's and Victoria Secrets website (hmmm, I wonder why?)

Shoppers who see the "site experience" as their top priority where most likely found spending money on Netflix, Dell, Home Depot, QVC and others. Best Buy, Macy's and Overstock (as many others) were looked after for "merchandise selection" as top priority.

So, after the shock - Social Media is not at all the Holy Grail - I guess we can figure out from here, that established online Marketing activities and tactics like website "browse-ability", inventory and content, high search-ability in the search engines and a smart crafted email templates or email newsletters.

Even so this survey was targeted to Online Retailers, the recipe can be held universal and will also fit retail stores and especially Car Dealerships, who are still searching for the Silver "shiny" Bullet. Make sure your business will be found when somebody in the market types into Google "2011 Chevy Impala Austin".

Show your potential customer who hopefully just picked you up on the search result will experience a website, offering adequate and thorough content pages on the model searched for and a "hook", where the website converts (a.k.a. form submission form or tracking phone number).

Let's go and "get' em Tiger".

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David Johnson
Businesses need to remember that social media should be PART of the mix, it doesn't replace anything. Thank you for bringing this up!
Bryan Armstrong
I still remember your DD presentation where Joe Webb and I sat in the back and tweeted your classic line "Social Media is not the silver bullet. It will not kill the vampire". Still a great PART of the mix, but doesnt solve everything. great post as usual VJ! @David-Exactly!!!
@Brian...yes, ha ha ha I remember, and I still believe that a silver bullet can kill a Vampire....geez. Thank you both Bryan and David for your comments. A Happy New Year to you and the entire Driving Sales Community.

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