October 3, 2012, 4:52 PM

Consumers may seek discounts on social networks, but few want to buy

Two-thirds say they don’t interact at all with retailers on Facebook and similar social networks.

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Social media can work as a brand-building tool, but not a place to generate sales, according to a new survey of more than 500 U.S. online consumers by e-commerce technology provider hybris.

The survey found that 65% of shoppers do not visit social networks to interact with, or get information from, their preferred retailers.  

35% of consumers said that they do visit social networks for product research. Of those, 75% or 26% of the shoppers surveyed, said they Like retailers’ Facebook pages. The main reason consumers gave for Liking retailers’ pages, cited by 74% of survey respondents, is to learn about sales and receive coupons or discount codes.

23% of respondents said they follow retailers on Twitter. Hybrids says 14% of survey respondents follow retailers on Twitter to receive coupons or discount codes, 10% to receive notices about sales, 7% to learn about company news, 7% to learn about new products and 4% to address a retailer in a public way. Respondents could select multiple answers.

A majority of all respondents, 66%, said that they are not interested in purchasing directly from a retailer’s social media page. 38% cited privacy concerns for their reluctance to buy on sites like Facebook or Tumblr.  Hybris did not immediately respond to requests for more information.

“While social media channels can be valuable awareness-generating vehicles for retailers, they are not currently preferred options for consumers when it comes to purchasing, with consumers visiting retailers’ social media sites to gather information that they will then oftentimes use to complete a purchase via another channel,” says Steven Kramer, North America president of hybris.  “Consumers continue to want information when they want it, where they want it and how they want it, but when it comes to actually making a purchase, social media is not a preferred or trusted choice.”

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