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Brands and Retailers Aggressively Adopt Social Media to Drive Customer Engagement and Avoid Being Left Behind

PowerReviews (Business Wire) - 23 September 2009

Brands and Retailers Aggressively Adopt Social Media to Drive Customer Engagement and Avoid Being Left Behind

Facebook and Twitter See Highest Adoption Rate in Social Media; Customer Reviews Ranked #1 for Driving both Sales and Customer Engagement

PowerReviews logoCHICAGO & SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The e-tailing group and PowerReviews today announce findings from the first annual Community and Social Media Study, which assesses the attitudes and actions of brands and retailers as they make their way through the world of social media.

The study found that the penetration of social media tools within brand and retailer organizations is extremely high, given the length of time these tools have been around. Five out of ten social media tools have been adopted by more than 50 percent of brands and retailers, with the Facebook Fan Page leading the way (at 86 percent adoption). The other top tools include Twitter Publishing (65 percent), Customer Reviews (55 percent), Blogs (55 percent) and Viral Videos (50 percent). In addition, the study found three-fourths of the 117 survey respondents feel brands have accelerated their use of, and commitment to, community and social media in the past six months.

The most striking finding was the reason behind this accelerated adoption, specifically the top three concerns of marketers and merchandisers related to social media.

  • #1 concern - brand degradation fear – “people can trash my products in front of large audiences”
  • #2 concern - competence fear – “I am using outdated marketing/merchandising techniques”
  • #3 concern - competitive fear – “customer’s inclination to leave their site to find a more socially-engaging site”

These motivators, which drove the last wave of social media adoption, will also be driving the next wave in the coming year. Over the next 12 months, study respondents say they plan to adopt Facebook Connect (31 percent of respondents), Social Listening Tools (31 percent), Customer Reviews (26 percent) and Product Suggestions (26 percent).

Aside from increasing sales, the study also found the primary goal for adopting social media was customer engagement (39 percent of respondents), along with mobilizing advocates to drive “word of mouth” (30 percent) and increasing brand loyalty (21 percent).

“The integration of community and social networking within e-commerce has reached critical mass and as such is now a benchmark that we will be tracking annually,” explains Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group. “Customer engagement is now a metric to be reckoned with, where failing to engage consumers via community and social media will have brand and bottom-line implications. All merchants must test and understand how to effectively deploy it for their brands to retain customers, encourage sales and avoid abandonment to competitors who’ve better embraced its marketing potential.”

Regarding advocacy and word of mouth (the #2 goal of using social media tools), the study found that Facebook is considered by brands and merchants to be the “single most effective tactic in mobilizing brand advocates and influencers to spread the word about products/services.” However, when it comes to driving sales and customer engagement, customer reviews came out on top by a wide margin, as 78 percent of those polled list customer reviews as the #1 social media tool for generating sales and 61 percent list customer reviews #1 in driving customer engagement.

“Though social media has been considered by many to be ‘what’s hot today,’ this study has uncovered key pain points marketers and merchandisers are experiencing that are core to their company’s growth and their own career growth,” said Darby Williams, VP of Marketing at PowerReviews. “We have found in the past that issues such as these tend to fuel permanent changes in the way marketers think and act. As a result, we believe a new marketing baseline has been set with customer engagement and interaction taking center stage.”

About the e-tailing group

The e-tailing group, inc. serves as the multi-channel merchant’s eye, bringing a merchant’s sensibility to evolving the multi-channel shopping experience. A Chicago-based consultancy, they provide practical strategic perspectives and actionable merchandising solutions to merchants selling online as well as to enabling technology firms. For more background about this research study or additional information on the e-tailing group, inc. please contact Lauren Freedman at or visit the e-tailing group website

About PowerReviews

PowerReviews ( provides customer reviews and social commerce solutions to retailers and brands. The company's innovative tag-based approach to collecting, organizing, structuring, and moderating reviews significantly boosts product sales, driving the highest sales uplift in the industry. PowerReviews works with over 800 retailers and brands on over 2600 websites, including Staples, REI,, Gardener’s Supply,, Callaway and Jockey. In addition to its Enterprise solution, PowerReviews offers an on-demand solution for small- and medium-sized businesses called PowerReviews Express ( PowerReviews also operates a product reviews and recommendation site for consumers, called (


the etailing group


Lauren Freedman, 773-975-7280
TidalWave PR for PowerReviews
Lisa Tarter, 415-203-2462

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