Social Media Are Influencing Consumer Preferences, IDC Retail Insights Says

(Auszug aus der Pressemitteilung)

MILAN, Italy and FRAMINGHAM, Mass., March 16, 2010 – IDC Retail Insights recently released a new report, which gives an overview of the main opportunities being created by social networks for retailing. This study also analyzes the various social phenomena developing on the Web 2.0, and how these can be used by retailers to gain a competitive advantage.


„It is increasingly on social media that retail brand awareness is established and brand image is built,“ said Ivano Ortis, research director, IDC Retail Insights. „Social networks, blogs, price comparison Web sites, and the likes can all be used by retailers of all kinds and sizes to attract and influence customers, to study demand patterns, to improve brand reputation, and, finally, to provide customer support. Looking ahead, IDC Retail Insights sees an open social network built on a personalized widget portal, which will be available to each consumer individually, independent of each retailer — and yet supported by all of them — accessible from everywhere via a wide array of technologies.“

Social media — with the top 10 social networks now having surpassed 1.3 billion members — are also influencing consumer preferences by shaping their attitudes and behavior.

Therefore, Web 2.0 technologies will play an extremely important role across all retail segments. Social networks, blogs, and price comparison Web sites can all be used to attract and influence customers, to study demand patterns, to improve brand image, and to support customers after their purchases. IDC Retail Insights highlights the following:

  • The innovative nature of social media can turn multiple account profiles into an opportunity for retailers to capitalize on same-shopper sales growth prospects.
  • Retailers‘ presence across social media networks needs to be well balanced, allowing consumers to feel in control of their own personal spheres. A friendly, interactive presence on a social network can greatly improve brand image and help the company gather extremely useful, unstructured data about demand trends.
  • The use of mobile social networks has grown significantly, in a process that will most likely bridge the gap between online and physical shopping.

According to IDC Retail Insights, retailers should establish a presence on social networks not only with the direct objective of attracting consumers to their Web sites or stores, but most importantly to gather useful information, in a non-intrusive way, on their current and potential customers. In other words, retailers should learn to listen at customers who are engaged in social communities.

The report also examines some examples of retailers that have entered the treacherous realm of social networking: some were successful while others were not. Both cases provide useful lessons.

In this IDC Retail Insights study, Business Strategy: Social Commerce Opportunities, Strategies, and Risks for Retailers Globally, (Doc #GRRS01S, Jan 2010), by Ivano Ortis and Alessandro Casoli, is not limited to traditional social networks such as Facebook, but also explores the following social media applications in the context of commerce: social shopping networks, widgets, blogs, media sharing Web sites, microblogs, and social bookmarking.