August 31, 2011, 4:03 PM

Blind faith

Retailers admit they don’t know how social marketing will pay off, but they don’t want to be left out.

Although 79% of retailers surveyed say they are still not sure how to gauge the impact of social media or the best way to use it, 72% say they have no choice but to get involved because of consumers' heavy participation in social networks, research and advisory firm Retail Systems Research LLC finds in a new study, "Social Media's Impact on Customer Engagement." The study, based on a survey of 111 retail professionals from February to May 2011, also notes that 75% of retailers say participating in social media helps them get a more complete picture of their customers' retail experience. Among the most valuable aspects of social media cited by respondents are consumer product recommendations and integration with e-commerce.

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