As Independent Retailer reported in early March, a slowly but surely improving economy has begun to provide some wind in the metaphorical sails of independent retailers’ plans for 2011. A recent Standard & Poor’s Equity Research study forecasts a positive year for retail, in which independent retailers will experience the benefits of keeping costs low, allowing them to refocus marketing attention to online technology and the social media forum.
Independent Retailers Face the Facebook Community
Without question, Facebook is where the social media craze begins. It was reported at the beginning of 2011 that Goldman Sachs, the global investment banking and securities firm, invested $450 million in the hot social networking firm. Goldman is aiming to raise as much as $1.5 billion from its wealthy clients to invest in Facebook, posing Facebook as an unstoppable social networking source.
As Technology Marketing Corporation’s columnist, Susan Campbell, reported in December 2010, Facebook wants to serve as an eCommerce site and to grab the attention of retailers everywhere. Ultimately, the social networking giant would like to convert its users to online shoppers. Therefore, supposedly, managers for the company have met with more than 20 different retailers and other companies in order to help them set up shop on its pages and build tools that will enable Web users to interact, while making purchases.
Independent Retailers Ask: What’s the Hold up?
The thought of small businesses finding a home on this once collegiate elite networking site doesn’t seem far fetched with local businesses gaining fans in the thousands and moguls, such as Warner Brothers Studios, making a name for itself via the social tool. Nonetheless, in a recent report by Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research, Facebook findings appear to be a waste of independent retailer resources.
Mulpuru says, “In spite of the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world have Facebook accounts, the ability of the social network to drive revenue for eCommerce businesses continues to remain elusive. eBusiness professionals in retail collectively report little direct or indirect benefit from Facebook, and social networks overall trail far behind other customer acquisition and retention tactics like paid search and email in generating a return on investment.” Perhaps independent retailers have high hopes when reviewing such an eCommerce plan as Facebook’s, and social retailing is simply taking longer to catch on unlike other traditional forms of marketing.
Other Highlights Offered by Forrester’s Research to Independent Retailers
Forrester suggests that independent retailers not be fooled by those retailers seeing a double-digit percent of sales via Facebook, as many of these organizations have unique demographics or marketing models. Furthermore, if Facebook is going to become a part of an independent retailers’ business plan, then the data layer revealing insight into consumer activity on Facebook needs to be better leveraged.