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Retailers Cite Facebook as a Top Customer Acquisition Marketing Tool

Jul 21, 2015 2:22 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Social media, particularly Facebook, has grown more important to U.S. retailers for engaging with and attracting new customers, according to the "State of Retailing Online 2015," conducted by, Forrester Research Inc. and Bizrate Insights. Overall, 63 percent of retailers surveyed increased their online merchandising budgets this year compared with 2014, while 49 percent increased their online merchandising staffing.  In addition, the survey found that 63 percent of retailers plan to spend more on search engine marketing and  58 percent expect to increase spending on social media marketing to complement paid search, email outreach and affiliate marketing tactics. 

A quarter of retailers surveyed cited Facebook as their top acquisition platform, while half confirmed they will spend more on paid Facebook options this year to promote posts and advertise products, according to the data.  YouTube was in second place, with 29 percent of retailers expecting to spend more on paid options through video, followed by Pinterest (27 percent), Twitter (22 percent), Instagram (20 percent) and Snapchat (6 percent).

“It was not a surprise to see that search and email marketing tools are still powerful, but to further engage consumers, retailers understand that using complementary marketing channels, including the use of social media, makes a tremendous difference in reaching new markets and diversifying their outreach,” said Vicki Cantrell,'s executive director. “With so much marketing ‘noise’ and competition these days, retailers are testing and investing in a variety of acquisition media to appeal to their customers and to make the most effective use of their tight marketing budgets.”

The survey also revealed that online marketplaces -- where a retailer sells products on another retailer's website -- ranked in fifth place for effectiveness among customer acquisition tools and 32 percent are spending more on this strategy this year.

Forrester's vice president and principal analyst, Sucharita Mulpuru, said, “From Walmart and Alibaba, to Sears and Macy’s – the collective world of ecommerce has integrated the use of marketplaces into their business and benefited from the increased customer traffic. For many retailers, using marketplaces gives them a new way to compete with Amazon – even if that means selling their products on Amazon itself.”

More than half of retailers surveyed plan to allocate funds to enhance ecommerce portal designs for smartphones (55 percent), tablets (46 percent) and desktops (41 percent).   



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Tags: advertising, branding, ecommerce, facebook, Jeff Miller, marketing, retail
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