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Facebook Once Again Hailed As Useful E-Commerce Channel

14 April 2010 - 09:19 by Mike Price

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Not for the first time, online retailers are being urged to sit up and take notice of the popular social networking site Facebook. Experts have predicted that the website will continue to grow in stature as a route to market for those online retailers wishing to expand their e-commerce market share, allowing them to attract consumers who are driving their safe shopping online activities via social media.

The latest research from consulting firm Morpace should give online retailers further reason to consider Facebook as a valuable part of their online marketing mix. Findings published in Morpace's Omnibus Report for March suggest that when it comes to safe shopping online, social shopping via Facebook is increasingly important.

Morpace, in creating the report, spoke to around 1,000 online users, asking them why they become 'fans' of branded Facebook pages. It turns out that the most popular reason as to why consumers 'friend' brands is "to let my friends know what products I support", with 41 per cent of consumers surveyed indicating this to be their primary motivation. As a result, retailers should recognise that the social networking site could be an important determining factor when consumers consider products, looking to their friend's pages for inspiration. Retailers should also look to the site as a vital means by which to communicate with their target market, according to Morpace.

Meanwhile, 37 per cent of those asked said that a major motivation in driving brand loyalty was to " receive coupons and discount offers", suggesting that for many consumers, what drives their behaviour is an agenda which definitively includes online shopping. The research also revealed that 36 per cent of those asked believe that Facebook is useful for product research, whilst 68 per cent admitted that should one of their Facebook friends recommend an item, it could well influence their decision to buy that particular product.