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Social Tactics Not Meaningful Sales Drivers

Social Media

September 25, 2012 -- A new study examining retail shopping sites finds social media has very little influence on online purchasing behavior. In fact, less than 1% of transactions could be traced back social media tactics, such as Facebook and Pinterest.

“While the hype around social networks as a driver of influence in eCommerce continues to capture the attention of online executives, the truth is that social continues to struggle and registers as a barely negligible source of sales for either new or repeat buyers,” finds the joint study of 77,000 online sales transactions conducted by Forrester Research and GSI Commerce, eBay's e-commerce services unit.

When it comes to prompting online purchases, The Purchase Path of Online Buyers In 2012 report finds:
The study did not examine the role of print or other offline channels.

Forrester suggests retailers shouldn’t overestimate the impact of social networks in marketing, but instead, sellers should strengthen their email and search marketing strategies. Just as important, retailers would be wise to actively promote retail website URLs across channels – in stores, on packaging, in print and online ads, on receipts -- for this tactic is a significant driver of site traffic.
About: Forrester collaborated with GSI Commerce to obtain the retailer data in this report. The data in this report came from 77,000 consumer purchases in April 2012. This data was validated and scrubbed for any test, fraudulent, return, and customer service orders. This report evaluates which digital channels influenced and closed eCommerce sales; it is not a comprehensive evaluation of all digital marketing channels. 

Source: Forrester Research, The Purchase Path of Online Buyers In 2012, accessed Oct 5, 2012.