Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

New report looks at Brits' behaviour online

Published: 28 February 2011
As a growing number of firms ramp up their multi-channel activities, Shoppercentric says opportunities do exist in social media and mobile commerce but that the message must be fine-tuned.
A report by Shoppercentric revealed that only one in three consumers visit brand websites, compared with three in four visiting retailer websites. It was also found that neither group have the same impetus to talk directly with brands as they do to talk directly with retailers.

The consumer research firm believes the overreaching message among its findings is that there are opportunities for retailers and brands through social media and mobile commerce but that companies need to get their message right.

The research also indicated that there are major changes that retailers and brands need to note about the way men and women shop. Mobile commerce seems to have made a connection with men, with 38% owning and using a smartphone, compared with just 29% of women. 14% of men also use phone apps that support shopping, compared with 8% of women. Meanwhile, women prefer social networking but are yet to become as engaged with brands via this medium.

When it comes to social media, the survey revealed that the main reason for shoppers wanting to reach out to and connect with a company through social media is to find out something new.

However, the most popular thought from respondents as to why they think brands or retailers were present on social media was that they were there to sell more products, while 43% also thought that both retailers and brands were there 'because everyone else is'. In fact, 37% of respondents said they didn't see the point of brands using social media and 18% said the same of retailers.

Just over a third of 16-24 year olds admitted to already following brands or retailers on social media. This figure, however, reduces as the age group climbs to 29% of 25-34 year olds, 18% of 35-44 year olds, 8% of 45-54 year olds. None of the 55-plus age group were following any brands or retailers, with 56% of respondents adding that they 'didn't see the point'.

The use of social networking and mobile commerce in the business context is still in its early stages of development," said Shoppercentric md Danielle Pinnington. "However, as these figures are suggesting, the gender and age divides between these social and mobile platforms could be put to good use by retailers to better target and engage their customers."

She added: "There also seems to be a fundamental barrier in consumers' minds as to why they should communicate directly with a brand, or why a brand would want to communicate directly with them. That doesn't mean they won't communicate with brands, it simply means brands need to work much harder to set up and maintain the connection... They need to work on the basis they have to seek out these connections rather than assuming consumers will come to them. Ultimately they need to create a social network space which generates curiosity in the brand, and gives a reason for visitors to keep coming back."

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