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New study evaluates consumers' approach to "Social Commerce"

Washington D.C. -- Shoppers are interacting with retailers through a variety of social networks - primarily to find deals.

According to the recently released 2011 Social Commerce Study, a joint research project by National Retail Federation's, comScore and Social Shopping Labs, 42% of online consumers have "followed" a retailer proactively through Facebook, Twitter or a retailer's blog, and the average person follows about six retailers.

While shoppers' reasoning for following a retailer varies, the majority of respondents (58%) said they follow companies to find deals, while nearly half (49%) said they want to keep up to date on products. More than one-third also follow retailers for information about contests and events (39%).

The report, which evaluates shopping directly influenced by social media, polled 1,787 adult online shoppers in April 2011.

"Though many retailers use social media to build their brand, research indicates that companies may also be able to monetize these channels," NRF said. More than half of Facebook users (56%), the survey shows, said they have clicked through to a retailer's website because of a Facebook post, while more than two-thirds of Twitter users (67%) said a post has spurred them to click through to a website.

"Additionally, the appetite for buying directly through social networks appears strong," as one-third of shoppers said they would be likely to make a purchase directly from Facebook (35%) or Twitter (32%).

Many shoppers are using smartphones to connect to social media: 42% of Twitter users access the site on their mobile phone at least once a day, while the same is true for 34% of Facebook users. In addition, about one-third (32%) of people view YouTube clips daily from their smartphones.

Shoppers are also using mobile devices for research and information while shopping in stores. Nearly half of consumers (47%) have accessed customer reviews in store using their mobile device with men (55%) more likely to access these reviews in store than women (39%).


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