Social media an indispensable tool for retailers

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — Much as the late Steve Jobs likely did not foresee the iPhone when he and Steve Wozniak hammered away at the Apple I computer, it’s unlikely that Mark Zuckerberg saw the full potential of Facebook when he and a group of friends created it in a Harvard University dormitory.

(THE NEWS: Study: Online marketing drives 21% in-store sales lift. For the full story, click here.)

But as the recent study by ComScore and DunnhumbyUSA — and retailers’ own experience — show, social media quickly is becoming an indispensable tool for modern businesses, especially retailers.

The ComScore-DunnhumbyUSA study isn’t the first to show this. A survey of 1,500 adults released in June by the marketing and public relations firm Robin Leedy & Associates found that friends had as much ability to influence people’s purchases of OTC and health-and-beauty products as television did, and that digital media had more influence in many cases than traditional media did.

Many retailers already have gotten the message.