November 11, 2011, 2:04 PM

Discounts drive consumers to Like a retailer on Facebook

The E-tailing Group also says 24% of consumers are seeking rewards points.

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The prospect of a deal or discount drives 63% of consumers to Like the Facebook page of a retailer or manufacturer, according to a new report by The E-tailing Group Inc. that was sponsored by consumer review platform vendor PowerReviews Inc.

Other reasons cited by consumers for pressing the Like button on those Facebook pages were sharing a specific experience with the retailer (55%), participating in a sweepstakes or a poll (51%), seeking store ads (48%) and receiving updates from the company in the news feed (45%), the first page a consumer sees when going to Facebook.com. 

Those explanations reflect the reasons that consumers give for why they post a comment on, or otherwise interact with, a retailer or manufacturer’s Facebook page. 43% say they engage with a page to gain access to promotions and 24% say they do so to receive rewards points. Customer service-related issues, such as to get a specific question answered (23%) and comment on a specific experience with the retailer (22%), are also cited by consumers.

When consumers interact with Facebook they provide a wealth of data that e-commerce sites can use to personalize the shopper’s experience. For instance, when a consumer grants comparison shopping engine TheFind access to her Facebook account, TheFind sorts search results based on the brands and stores the consumer and her Facebook friends Like. While 30% shoppers say that type of personalized site experience is important, 16% consider it only slightly important and 54% not at all important.

 “I’m not sure shoppers have thought through the value of this and don’t realize the ease of shopping that may result from Facebook-enabled personalization," says Lauren Freedman, president of the research and consulting firm The E-tailing Group, in the report. "Of course, some may feel caution in the early stages as they get comfortable with the concept just as they did with e-commerce."

The report also notes that even though only one in three consumers say they participate in social network or community sites at least some of the time, their influence is significant. “They are a force to be reckoned with as more people grow up and even older individuals spend time on social networks," she says. "The 'influence' factor from Facebook and one’s social group will become part of the knowledge retailers must possess."

Moreover, the number using social networks is increasing. 47% of the shoppers surveyed say they use communities or social media sites when shopping online, up from 36% in 2010.

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