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Analyst emphasises importance of social media in e-commerce

03 April 2012 - 09:45 by Graham Miller

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Many major retailers attempt to boost their profiles by running Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, engaging with customers and fuelling promotion. Now e-commerce consultant, Patricia Davidson, is the latest expert to contend that social media services are vital to the development of safe shopping online.

Davidson said that retailers are now able to research and communicate in ways which were impossible until relatively recently, which is all down to the proliferation of social networking sites and their instant accessibility through smartphones.

Of course there are two sides to every argument and there are others who believe that Davidson and other social media supporters are overemphasising the importance of these tools, in relation to e-commerce success.

However, the idea that retailers can help strengthen their brands through a presence on Facebook and Twitter, is not so easily dismissed.

For many web users, a social networking site is their first port of call when they head online, which means it can also be the platform through which they engage with the companies they love. The result is that many retailers are investing time and money in pitching their Facebook page and Twitter account, to appeal to people who are looking for more than basic information, or a link to their site for safe shopping online.

One way that retailers are enticing consumers over to their e-commerce sites through social media, is by offering exclusive offers and deals, which are shared and spread virally on these services.

Social media is all about sharing and collaboration, so if a brand wants to make a name for itself, then working to the strengths of these tools will certainly help it succeed.

Whether or not social media will become the first place to source e-commerce deals for consumers remains to be seen. But its importance for promotion is not to be underestimated.