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Social media referrals spur e-commerce spending

Date posted:  11/23/15 12:00:00 AM Facebook business referrals are helping spur online spending.

Small businesses receiving social media referrals from customers during the holiday shopping season likely did better than their competitors, according to data from IBM that followed holiday shopping traffic.

Customer referrals from Facebook and Pinterest were two of the most impactful types during the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, though Facebook users look like they have a little more coin to spend than their Pinterest counterparts. Shoppers who were referred from Facebook spent roughly 9 percent more per order ($97.81 on average) than those referred through Pinterest ($92.40), ZDNet reported.

According to Entrepreneur, only 10 percent of brands have a major marketing focus on Pinterest, which accounts for 41 percent of all traffic referred to e-commerce sites.

Meanwhile, Facebook makes up 37 percent of all e-commerce referrals, meaning that if your business isn't on the social media bandwagon, it's missing out on a major possible portion of revenue. Entrepreneur added that 95 percent of Facebook users log into their accounts every day, and 15.8 percent of all minutes spent surfing the web are spent on Facebook.

With that in mind, small businesses are trying to figure out ways to stay ahead of the technology curve that can make or break a company.

Digital commerce across the entire retail industry is slated to grow at an 18.8 percent compound annual growth rate through 2017, according to a forecast from International Data Corp.

"Enterprises are looking to replace aging, custom-developed applications with more modern and nimble applications that allow them to move quickly into new markets with pop-up stores and omnichannel solutions that provide consumers and business buyers with a consistent experience regardless of where they research, shop, buy and return goods and services – online, mobile, in the store, through the call center, and more," Christine Dover, research director for IDC, told ZDNet.



Small businesses, big data

One of the biggest advantages small businesses will have over past decades is the ability to acquire data trends. Once considered a premium expense only large corporations could afford, small businesses are now able to gain insights regarding sales trends and customer habits through new technology and applications.

"They are starting to think big and take advantage of big data, social media and DIY marketing to stay competitive, much more so than we have seen before," Jason Richelson, CEO and founder of ShopKeep POS, told ZDNet.