July 14, 2011, 12:04 PM

Top e-retailers lag in Facebook money-making strategies

A study finds that 21% of Top 500 retailers have no Facebook page.

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In a study this spring of retailers in the Internet Retailer Top 500, e-commerce software provider Ability Commerce found that 90% of those retailers are not selling on Facebook. Moreover, 21% of them, or 105, have yet to even create a Facebook page.

“We found that larger e-retailers such as OfficeMax Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Express Inc., which are respectively ranked 9, 20 and 124 in the IR Top 500, were more likely than smaller retailers to have a Facebook shopping application,” says Ability Commerce CEO Diane Buzzeo, who writes about the study in a “Web Selling Views” column that will appear in the August issue of Internet Retailer.

But many other retailers, particularly small to midsize ones that sell goods commonly purchased online, such as clothes, consumer electronics, and books and other media products, she says, appear to be missing an opportunity. And with Facebook recently reporting it has 750 million active users, it’s a big opportunity, Buzzeo says.

One aspect of Facebook that retailers have readily adopted is the brand page, Buzzeo says. In the roughly one year since Facebook introduced company brand pages where consumers can click to “Like” a company, replacing “fan” pages that used to compile the number of consumers signed up as fans of a company, consumers have enthusiastically Liked the Facebook pages of their favorite brands, she adds. “Retailers have started treating these Likes as markers for social media engagement—collecting them through awareness campaigns, contests and other incentives.”

The top six (with two tied for second place) most Liked IR Top 500 retailers as of May 15, 2011, with their number of Likes, according to the study, were: 

● Disney Shopping Inc., 23,127,619

● Victoria’s Secret Direct, Bath and Body Works (tie), 13,010,929

● NBA Media Ventures LLC, 8,632,049

● National Geographic Society, 5,989,055

● Walmart.com, 5,952,65

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