1/14/09

Top 500 retailers are taking up residence on social networking sites

Web retailers embraced the most well-known social networking sites in 2008. Of the Internet Retailer Top 500 merchants, 41% now have a presence on Facebook, compared with 29% on YouTube and 27% on MySpace.

Bill Briggs , Senior Editor

Web retailers embraced the most well-known social networking sites in 2008 as they sought to tap into consumers’ participation in electronic communities. Of the Internet Retailer Top 500 web merchants, 41%, or 207, have a presence on Facebook, compared with 143 on YouTube.com, or 29%, and 27%, or 113 e-retailers, on MySpace.

The top 500 e-commerce sites were reviewed in late 2008 and researchers noted retailers that had a page on any of the top social networking sites. The pages include book reviews on the Facebook page for Amazon.com, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and a fashion widget available on the Facebook page of department store chain Nordstrom Inc. (No. 32).

Further evidence of retailers and their blossoming presence on social networking sites is a study showing that the number of e-commerce sites with a fan page on Facebook nearly doubled in five months. The 2008 study, by marketing research company Rosetta, was conducted in April and updated in September and found that 59% of 100 retailers had a fan page on Facebook last fall, up from 30% in the spring. Retailers that added a fan page included Best Buy Co. (No. 12), Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. (No. 434), Kohl`s Corp. (No. 63) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 14). Fan pages created by web retailers can be product-oriented or informational, with or without product listings.

“We’ve reached a tipping point with Facebook among retailers,” says Adam Cohen, partner with Rosetta’s consumer goods and retail practice. “Social media sites continue to be an important source of community connection and savvy retailers are reaping the benefits of Facebook’s rapid extension into new demographics, such as Gen-X and seniors.”

The Rosetta study included 100 retailers with a significant e-commerce presence or brand awareness, evaluated strictly on the creation of a fan page on Facebook.

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