It makes sense that e-retailers are using social marketing strategies to capture online traffic. But how widespread is their use of social marketing and can e-retailers measure the success of their efforts? The 2009 State of 645099_the_secretRetailing Online report, conducted by Forrester Research for Shop.org, shows how these marketers currently use and how they plan to use social media.

For example, about 1in 3 e-retailers says that social media has played a role in increasing business while the remaining 2/3’s say that the return on investment is unclear. For many of these businesses, participation in social media appears to be a forced march. The following percentages of e-retailers indicate their reasons for pursuing social media:

  • To avoid being left behind 54%
  • Because of the general interest in this topic 50%
  • To keep up with competitors 28%
  • To satisfy senior management 15%

These marketers are also attempting to measure the results of their efforts and here are some of the most popular methods being used:

  • Click-throughs from sites like Twitter or Facebook 60%
  • Increased growth of followers on sites such as Twitter or Facebook 57%
  • Numbers of subscribers on a company’s blog or social network page 42%

While it appears that a solid percentage of e-retailers is actively using social media, there is growing interest in this format. Nearly 2/3’s of these marketers agreed that they plan to experiment with social media in time for the 2009 holiday selling season.

[Source: 34% of e-retailers say social marketing has increased sales, Internet Retailer, 10.06.09]