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Facebook fans spend almost 50pc more at grocery stores: report

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September 26, 2014

facebook small optA new report sheds some light on the question of whether or not social media engagement impacts retailers’ bottom lines, with the Facebook fans of one large regional grocery chain spending almost 50 percent more than non-fans.

The report from Collective Bias and Yeti Data, “Social Engagement and its Impact on a Buyer’s Purchases,” points to social media’s role in the marketing mix extending beyond reach and engagement to include a direct link with sales. The link between Facebook engagement and spending habits has grown stronger over the last three years even as other social marketing options have appeared.

“We know modern day shoppers rely heavily on their mobile device to shop,” said Bill Sussman, CEO of Collective Bias. “People check social media on their phones before a shopping trip and also while in the store for information, opinions and deals.

“Mobile content opportunities are based on the unique opportunities provided by each channel,” he said. “Retailers should pay attention to their content strategy for Foursquare, Google Local Search, and even Facebook Places.

“For a retailer to maximize the mobile experience they must deliver a cohesive and helpful social experience, from one location to the next, in order to attract a person to the store and then move them along towards a final purchase.”

Long-term relationships
The report is based on a study of the purchasing habits of the more than 600,000 loyalty card members at a large regional grocery chain before and after they became Facebook fans.

Key findings include that Facebook fans who posted 10 or more times on the grocer’s Facebook page spent over $1,000 more annually than a typical customer.

Additionally, Facebook fans who posted 10 or more times on the grocer’s Facebook page visited the store 40 more times annually than a typical customer or 2.5 times the visits of a typical customer.

The research revealed a direct relationship between the length of time a customer is a Facebook fan and the average amount he or she spends each week at the grocer. Facebook fans visited the store 30 percent more than a typical customer per year.

“We were surprised to find a direct relationship between the length of time a customer is a Facebook fan and the average amount he or she spends each week at the grocer,” Mr. Sussman said. “The monetary value of the customer rose exponentially the longer he or she was a Facebook fan.

“The takeaway for marketing is that social media’s work is not done once a customer becomes a fan,” he said. “The real value – in terms of revenue – becomes when a marketer can increase a customer’s engagement and number of touch points on social.”

Revenue strategy
The report also found that Facebook fans bought 125 more items, or 35 percent more, than a typical customer.

While a majority of Facebook fans were female, male Facebook fans visited the store 7 percent more often than female fans.

“Bottom line: grocers need to change their mindset that social is just an engagement strategy and realize it is also a revenue strategy,” Mr. Sussman said.

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

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