Nearly all (92%) of retailers' social media accounts have a "Shop Now" button, which sends users directly to the store's site or app, according to The Social Shopping Report, a study conducted by Astound Commerce Insights and emailed to Retail Dive.
Retailers are also opening up communications on social channels, with 79% of accounts providing direct messaging options. But contact details were available on just 28% of retailers' social media sites, with phone numbers and emails difficult to find, Astound found.
Perhaps more problematically, retailers aren't posting about what customers want, Astound researchers warned. Most notably among topics consumers want to hear about is free shipping, which was highlighted on social media by just 7% of retailers.
The average daily usage of social media worldwide last year reached 135 minutes per day and rising, up from 126 minutes in 2016, according to Astound, making social media channels an important virtual global gathering place.
For its report, Astound followed a couple dozen retailers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and took a peripheral look at Snapchat and Pinterest as well. Researchers looked at the freshness of the content, any tactics that might lead users to check out the merchandise, how retailers stacked up on variables like shipping, and the ease of direct communication.
QVC and Victoria's Secret "reigned supreme" in the period, but Barnes & Noble was also "aggressive" in its messaging on social media, according to the report. Not surprisingly, Sephora's social media content mirrored its stores, with "product displays [that] inspire social shoppers, leading with Twitter and Instagram," Astound said.
Because good things come in small ????: FREE $20 Holiday Reward Card with a $75 purch (and that includes gift cards, if you buy them in ???????????????? stores!). https://t.co/dEQsoZZggp pic.twitter.com/I2NtN36ocq— Victoria's Secret (@VictoriasSecret) December 20, 2017
Considering it was the holidays, though, retailers' posts were "surprisingly" low on messages about promotions, at a time when shoppers are keen on finding deals and getting free shipping. "Given [the] desire for free shipping among shoppers, it's surprising to see its low penetration" on social media, according to the report, which found shipping offers averaged 7% on Facebook, 11% on Twitter and 3% on Instagram (or 7% overall).
Yet short-term and last-minute deals, like exclusives and gift cards, are ideal initiatives to blast out on social media channels, Astound said.