Top 100 global retailers failing to convert social marketing into sales


A study analysing social commerce strategies of Top 100 Global Retailers shows failure to convert social media into sales, with Tesco the only advanced retailer using social as a sales channel.

Buyapowa’s Social Maturity Index finds that 99% of retailers stuck in early stages of social maturity, focusing on attracting fans and engaging communities instead of monetising online audiences

The Three Stages of Social Maturity report, created by the social commerce experts at Buyapowa, shows that only one global retailer (Tesco) is successfully monetising its social media audience, with the majority still building their social audiences instead of driving sales. The findings show that while many retailers are investing heavily in a social presence, they risk squandering this investment by failing to evolve their approach to social media for selling.

Key findings

• Only one global retailer has reached stage 3 of social maturity, according to Buyapowa’s Social Maturity Index, with a massive 82% of global retailers languishing at stage 1

• In addition to Tesco, British retail’s highest performers include Marks & Spencers, which ranks 17th

• 66% of leading retailers follow five or fewer people per every 100 followers, prioritising broadcasting to audiences over listening and engaging with customers

• Almost half of leading retailers (43%) have a ‘disappointing’ response rate to posts which contain direct calls to action

• Internet of Cats: a third of the top 100 retailers posted more ‘silly’ content (such as pictures of animals) than any other kind, which can irritate customers already wishing to complain about a service

• Worst offenders: an overwhelming 72% of posts from supermarket chain Lidl are about products, and Aldi’s audience is four times less engaged with content posted than M&S and CostCo

The research team at Buyapowa analysed 40 separate social data points relating to followers of the world’s top 100 retailers over a two week period. Based on how they performed, each retailer was scored and given a unique position on a scale of social maturity. The 40 metrics include the number of fans that a company has, the number of ‘silly’ posts they make, and the number of advertisements they broadcast on social media channels.

Gideon Lask, founder and CEO of BuyaPowa, commented on the data: “In order to sell successfully on social platforms, retailers need to bake social into their offering, not just bolt it on - and that’s done by using techniques like gamification, dynamic pricing and co-operative buying. This research shows that, while there are some standout performers, the vast majority of retailers just aren’t making the most of the opportunities available to them in social.”

He continued: “Tesco stands out as a classic Stage Three pioneer, having understood that its highly engaged Facebook Page, Google+ Hangouts and Twitter feed only scratch the surface of social’s potential. Ultimately brands need to get out of the habit of using social media as a blunt marketing tool and understand that it can, and should, be making you money rather than costing it.”

An overview of findings, along with further information on methodology and the Three Stages of Social Maturity, can be found here:

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