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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- When it comes to consumers "following" retailers on social media sites, Facebook and Twitter are not No. 1. Instead, it's Pinterest, according to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study.
According to the study, a joint research project conducted by Shop.org, comScore and The Partnering Group, online U.S. consumers follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on Pinterest, compared to 8.5 retailers on Twitter and 6.9 on Facebook.
"Retailers have done a commendable job embracing social media -- engaging their customers where it makes sense while keeping their brand relevant, interesting, appealing and exciting on each platform," said Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell. "Specifically, Pinterest has given retailers another channel to 'listen' to and interact with both existing and new customers, telling an ongoing visual story through images of their products and their brand 'spirit,' a story that customers can then tell again to their friends and family members."
The study also attempted to determine why consumers follow particular retailers on social media platforms. According to the research, finding good deals is the leading reason, but that aspect has lost some of its luster. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they follow a retailer to get information on deals and coupons, but that's down from 58 percent last year.
In addition, 43 percent of those surveyed said they were looking for product information; 36 percent wanted to post/read comments about merchandise or services; 34 percent were looking for information about events; 31 percent sought current trends and ideas; 30 percent were searching for photos and videos; and 27 percent sought expert opinions.
"There are significant new opportunities for retailers to entice smartphone owners who may be within a few feet of their store -- or already in the store -- thanks to technology that lets shoppers who want to hear from retailers instantly interact with them," said Jennifer Vlahavas, senior director, comScore. "And while check-in and store location functionality are already gaining popularity, retailers have just begun to scratch the surface of using location data to better serve their customers. In-store shopping maps and customized shopping lists are a few of the emerging mobile technologies that promise to shape consumers' future behavior."
To further Vlahavas' point, the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study revealed that one-third of respondents who own a smartphone have already shared their current location with retailers.