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Does Social Media Increase Online Sales?

Social media is a better marketing platform than a customer service platform, but it’s still hard to separate sales directly attributable to social media

Does Social Media Increase Online Sales?

I’ve been saying for over two years that social media has been overhyped in almost every respect, and that a smattering of consumer psychology would tell those so equiped, that social media effects are much weaker than the proponents suggest. It’s not as good as people are claiming for customer service, and it’s not as powerful as proponents claim for increasing sales. Now we have some data.

In a report on Mashable (Nov. 2011) research entitled: Social Media Has Little Impact On Online Retail Sales, the following statement is offered:

The report, a collaboration between Forrester Research and GSI Commerce, analyzed data captured from online retailers between November 12 and December 20, 2010. The research shows that social media rarely leads directly to purchases online — data indicates that less than 2% of orders were the result of shoppers coming from a social network. The report found email and search advertising were much more effective vehicles for turning browsers into buyers.

Shocking? Not to me. Now we need to be careful of drawing conclusions from any single study. Research needs to be replicated a number of times by different researchers before we should begin to trust the findings.

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