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Social Media Marketing Gains Popularity Among Retailers

To stay strong in today’s increasingly digital landscape, retailers are prioritizing social media marketing in their budgets and searching for new trends to acquire more in-store and online consumers.

According to a recent NRF/Forrester survey, “State of Retailing Online 2016: Marketing and Merchandising,” 92 percent of retailers are investing in social media marketing this year. Although email topped 94 percent of retailers’ budgets, most retailers found that social media boosted revenue and proved to be a cost effective tool on multiple levels.

“Although email and SEO are tools frequently used by retail marketers, it was not a surprise to see that social media is gaining traction with retailers as they continue to further connect and engage with consumers,” said Vicki Cantrell, senior vice president at the National Retail Federation and executive director.

For paid social media platforms, 68 percent of retailers said Facebook was the most effective method for higher conversion, followed by 40 percent of retailers that found Instagram increased profitability as well.

Mobile marketing was also another popular investment for retailers. Nearly two-thirds of retailers (65 percent) anticipate spending more of their budgets on smartphone marketing in 2016 compared to 2015. Most retailers also observed that their digital subscribers open almost half (45 percent) of emails on their smartphones, compared to 41 percent on laptops and 14 percent on tablets.

Enhancing the consumer online shopping experience was another priority of retailers. In 2016, 55 percent of retailers grew their online merchandising budgets and 44 percent also increased their web merchandising staffs. In addition, 63 percent of retailers are investing in more digital content to support imagery, peer reviews and other online tools so consumers can have the confidence to find the right products.

“Customer-obsessed retailers are wisely investing this year to revamp their checkout process, as well as the overall site design—across desktop, smartphone and tablet devices,” said Forrester’s vice president and research director, Fiona Swerdlow. “Many also are upping the ante on developing rich content to meet their customers’ needs, even if creating, managing and keeping that content fresh isn’t always easy.”