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Facebook Inc (FB) Losing its Power as Retail Marketing Tool?

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is losing its power of influence over retail customers according to a new report by Capgemini entitled Digital Shopper Relevancy Report. As Forbes reported, the new report shows that people are placing less emphasis on following retail brands on social media, and making their purchasing decisions through those avenues.

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The report instead showed that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and social media’s relevance in the retail shopping experience peaked in 2012 and has been on the decline since. In its place, new and old methods have sprung up which are proving better able to influence customers and provide them the information they need, including apps, emails, in-store technology like price checkers, as well as an improved retail experience itself, with more knowledgable and attentive staff.

If there is one bright side for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), it’s that emerging markets showed a much greater propensity to rely on social media and other technology to enhance their shopping experiences. While only 60% of people in mature markets like the U.S, U.K, and Germany were considered willing to use social media in conjunction with their general shopping habits, 77% of people in emerging markets were considered voracious online shoppers who use every tool at their disposal to hunt down deals, including social media.

On the other hand, a separate study by Collective Bias found that those who do become fans of a retailer on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) end up spending 50% more money with that retailer than non-fans do. Active posters on grocer’s Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) pages were also found to spend about $1,000 more annually and visit the store more often than others.

However, in the case of the latter study, which Forbes reported on as being a counter of sorts to the first study, there seems to be a lack of cause and effect in the data that makes it far less useful than that study. There is nothing about the data that shows people are spending more because they are fans on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) (or likewise, that they would spend less if Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) didn’t exist). More likely, they are fans because they are already spending more at those retailers and already think highly of them.

Either way, the two new reports raise some interesting questions about Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s ever-evolving role in retail, now and in the future.

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