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Retail Goes Social - Building Trust In The Wild Web
Retail Goes Social - Building Trust In The Wild Web
By: Bikram K Singh

Web, though sounds very familiar to us, is wild, where we develop a false belief that we know who is on the other side of the glaring screen. Most of the activities on the net are anonymous. And it is true for the major brand retailers as well. For decades, they have operated anonymously in the opaque world a customer cannot see through.In that world, it was also difficult for retailers to build trust and showcase its entire product range to time-starved consumers. Then came social media that lifted the veil and made it possible for real people on the either sides of the glaring screen to communicate with each other. It also helped retailer appear midst the favourable crowd and display its range of products.

Top 5 Social media channels for retailers

Although different retailers use social media channels for different reasons, almost all of them are present on Facebook and Twitter. Other obvious social media channels used by retailers are Google+, and youTube with a surprise entry of Pinterest, which appears to be the most useful social media channel for certain kinds of retailers.

For retailers, Facebook has become their digital Mecca. Many international brands have a strong presence on this social website, and some of them have multiple brand pages. On Facebook, In total, 43 retailers fan pages on Facebook has more than 1 million pages (see the infographic for detail).In a study conducted on the social media activity  of top 250 retailers, it was found that 97% of them are on Facebook, 96% of them are on Twitter, 90% on YouTube, 67% on Goolge+, and 61% on Pinterest.

Considering the age of Pinterest, 61% is a very good number for the world’s favorite pin board.


Social media is proving to be more useful for retailers/shopping sites. It is helping them collect information, display products, mine intelligence, and even take cue to create products. Wal-Mart, for example, has used inputs shared by people on social media to develop its services and select products for its stores.

As per Stephen Wyss, Partner in the retail and consumer product practice of financial services consulting firm BDO USA, admission, “Social media is a great way for companies to interact and get to know their customers and consumers. It’s also a really fast and cost-effective way to gather information about new markets."

Top Retailers on social websites

On Facebook, Victoria’s Secret has the maximum number of fans. It has 18.5 million fans. On Twitter, Major League Baseball is the leading retailer with a total follower-base of 1.9 million people. It is also the number one page on Google+ where it has 600,000 followers. On YouTube,  Nike has the most subscribers with 200,000 subscribers, and on Pinterest, Nordstrom has the maximum follower. It has 14,000 followers on the channel.

If we talk of the retail sector, then Apparel/Accessories segment has a strong presence on all five social media channels. Mass retailers also have major presence on all social media website with an exception of YouTube. And second the most successful retailer segment on social media is Computers/Electronics, which has a strong presence on all channels except Pinterest.