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Social media key to retail business growth

Retailers consider social media extremely important for future growth, a new report says, adding that all of them use at least one social media channel.

SAP's new report, based on a face-to-face survey with retailers and SMEs between April and May 2016, says that almost a third (29 per cent) of respondents use more than three social media channels. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are considered the most popular channels, but Pinterest and YouTube are not that far behind.

“Every customer we engage with has an interest in social media,” says EJ Jackson, SVP & GM of SAP Anywhere. “The number using social media will grow exponentially as social selling becomes a critical business opportunity for retailers.”

The key advantages to using social media, according to the report, is the ability to reach new customers. More than three quarters (79 per cent) of respondents said this technology helps them overcome ongoing business challenges, 40 per cent said they reach new customers, and 30 per cent said investment in technology was fundamental to developing new sales and e-commerce.

For 13 per cent, new technology was used to improve customer experience.

“Growing businesses are at the forefront of delivering a great customer experience. They have the skills, agility and personal touch to be there for customers. New technology can really help to play its part, enabling retailers to get a complete picture of not only their business, but every interaction with their customers. This means, at a touch of a button, then can understand and tailor their service to customer needs, which is critical in the global retail world we operate in,” said EJ Jackson.