Social Commerce Retail Sales Up 26 Percent

While retailers fight the crowded social media space to get their voice heard by consumers, a new report says social media is playing a larger role in retailers e-commerce strategies.

Data from Internet Retailer’s newly released 2015 Social Media 500 shows that total social commerce sales reached $3.30 billion in 2014, which was up 26 percent from 2013’s $2.62 billion. Retailers also saw an average growth of 5.4 percent in 2014 in terms of total site traffic from social networks. The data also shows that those visitors are more likely to purchase once they click on a retailer’s site from a social network.

But driving that traffic isn’t cheap.

“Merchants are having to spend more on ads to have their content seen by consumers. That’s because Facebook shows fewer of a brand or retailer’s posts to its fans now than it did a few years ago, a strategy that effectively forces marketers to spend more on advertising to reach Facebook users,” wrote Stefany Zaroban for Internet Retailer.

Organic reach is getting harder for retailers, so they are having to turn to social media to help market their brand. A report from social analytics vendor Socialbakers said, on average, only 25 percent of companies are able to reach its customer base through organic posts. And in Internet Retailer’s research, of the 43 e-retailers that reported its social ad budgets, their total budgets were up 144 percent in 2014 to $17.9 million a month.

Data from the report also indicated that retailers have placed a large focus in increasing their social media audience. In 2014, those surveyed said their collective number of Facebook “likes” grew 33 percent in 2014; Twitter grew by 26 percent; Pinterest followers grew by 16 percent; and YouTube views grew by 78 percent.