January 3, 2013, 4:03 PM

How social networks can encourage sales

A new report attaches monetary value to consumers’ sharing product links.

Lead Photo

It pays for retailers to get shoppers sharing products on social networks and via e-mail, a new report says.

In fact, each time a shopper shares a product on Facebook, that action is worth $10.88, while each Twitter share is worth $6.09 and each e-mail share is worth $18.73, according to the report from social platform vendor Social Annex Inc. Moreover, shoppers who click on a shared link are four times more likely to make a purchase than consumers who arrive on a retailer’s site by other means.

Social Annex based its findings on data gathered on its more than 100 retailer clients’ sites, 19% of which are in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. The vendor bases the value of a share on two factors. The first is the revenue generated from shoppers that click on a shared link and make a purchase. The second is the dollar value of the purchase made by the shopper who shared the product.

Breaking down its retail clients into merchandise categories, Social Annex found that social sharing is particularly valuable for electronics and gaming retailers, where each Facebook share is worth $27.11, each Twitter share $35.77 and each e-mail share $29.13. The reason for the high dollar values is a combination of expensive products and a socially engaged fan base likely to click and buy after seeing a link, says Al Lalani, founder and CEO of SocialAnnex.

Here are the sharing values for other categories that Social Annex tracked (the vendor only presented category-specific numbers when it had at least five retailers in the category and their sites had a combined average monthly page views of at least 1 million):

• Health and beauty, Facebook, $9.83; Twitter, $7.21; e-mail, $17.17

• Jewelry, Facebook, $11.38; Twitter, $20.62; e-mail, $146.68

• Apparel and accessories, Facebook, $23.11; Twitter, $15.83; e-mail, $26.40

The report’s lesson is that retailers should integrate social elements throughout the sites that encourage shoppers to share; such elements can include contests or discount offers, Lalani says. “We’ve seen that when retailers integrate social into their e-commerce sites they’ve seen terrific rewards,” he says.

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