Author: Rebecca McDonald, Business Development Executive, eCommerce Worldwide & IMRG
A surprisingly low figure, when you consider the reach many popular British brands have, such as Boohoo, with 454,000 followers on Twitter, 2 million followers on Instagram and 2.3 million followers on Facebook.
It is of course important to remember that these channels are important for brand awareness, even if they may not produce a quantifiable return on investment. According to the Direct Marketing Association, '77% of marketers use social media, but only 9% of consumers say they are influenced by (it)'1. In March this year, Morrison’s' marketing director Andy Atkinson went as far as to say that brands using social media to make sales were 'making in mistake' in light of social media sites like Facebook rolling out direct shopping opportunities through their platforms. Additionally, he stated that Morrison’s have deliberately decided against using social media sites to drive sales, stating that social media is for relationship-building and not for sales2.
So, which verticals work best for generating sales from Brits through social media, which social networks should you strongly consider and is it worth your time tweeting and Snapchatting when targeting the largest ecommerce market in Europe?
Across all countries, an average of 85% of all direct orders on webstores are placed through Facebook3. These Facebook shops were rolled out in October 2015 but have yet to catch on with most retailers. As expected, Facebook is also the dominant social media platform in the UK, with a reach into 9 out of 10 social network users and 6 out of 10 internet users and around 33 million registered profiles4. In real terms, this equates to half the UK population using Facebook at least on a monthly basis this year.
Unsurprisingly it is the younger millennial demographic of 18-24 year olds who are driving the social commerce trend with a third reporting that they would buy directly from a social media platform, compared to only 10% of 54-65 year olds reporting that they would buy directly through Facebook4.
It could be seen that social media is more of a tool for engagement and inspiration, rather than direct sales. Aimia (owners of the Nectar brand) surveyed over 2,000 British consumers and concluded that social media shopping could become a viable route for the online retailers of the future. According to their search more than half of consumers (56%) visit retailers' social media channels to view products and nearly a third (31%) are using these networks to find inspiration for products they'd like to purchase. Brands may benefit from including clear links to product pages and their social media strategy more generally to avoid customers bouncing to find the same products for cheaper on other sites4.