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Facebook’s influence extends to in-store shoppers: report

February 5, 2014

Target uses Facebook to drive app downloads

Facebook is proving to be important for in-store shoppers both before and during their visits to bricks-and-mortar retail locations, according to a new report from Millward Brown and Facebook.

The report, “The Impact of Mobile and Facebook While Shopping” found that while shopping in-store, consumers who use Facebook do so at four times the rate of any other application or search. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of shoppers who used Facebook for information and ideas found it to be influential to their shopping experience.

“Facebook is a greater prominence with shoppers while shopping compared to other platform sites and shoppers are using Facebook to discover new ideas/inspiration as well as vet and share ideas with others,” said William Daddi, a spokesman for Millward Brown.

News Feed discovery
Many retailers are already advertising on Facebook to drive downloads for their apps.

However, the report suggests there is an opportunity for retailers to leverage Facebook to influence purchase decisions not just before, but also during and after their shopping trips.

The study found that 65 percent of respondents accessed their mobile devices while in-store for a shopping-related activity.

Before making a trip to a store, consumers increasingly go online from their mobile devices to research products, stores and deals. The report found that nearly two-thirds of shoppers spent less than an hour researching their trip and typically made a purchase within three days from the start of their research.

Facebook’s News Feed played a key role for shoppers during this discovery period, with 46 percent of consumers who used Facebook before shopping using it to look for deals, promotions and holiday gift ideas.

Additional findings include that 83 percent of shoppers who follow a retailer or consumer product on Facebook found the posts to be somewhat to very valuable when preparing for holiday shopping and 89 percent of shoppers shared their experience on Facebook after completing a shopping trip.

Better in-store experiences
Leveraging Facebook is one way retailers can help make the in-store shopping experience match the convenience of online shopping, something shoppers are looking for, according to a different study from Accenture.

The results show that 40 percent of United States consumers rank improving the in-store shopping experience as what needs most improvement in the overall shopping experience. In comparison, only 16 percent said the same for online shopping.

One way shoppers would like to see the in-store experience improved is by bringing the online experience into stores.

For example, 19 percent of consumers surveyed said they are using services that enable them to buy online and pick up in a store, up from 12 percent in the previous year. Additionally, 14 percent are buying in-store and having the product shipped to their home, up from 7 percent in the previous year.

Additionally, 89 percent would travel to a store or purchase online if retailers offered real-time information about product availability.

Other findings include that 54 percent said convenience is the biggest driver for shopping online or via mobile, down from 62 percent in the previous year, while 43 percent said purchasing with a mobile phone is easy, up from 23 percent.

“Due to the before research and in-store use of mobile, a presence on mobile gives marketers opportunities to influence shopping decisions, especially when in-store,” Millward Brown spokesman Mr. Daddi said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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