High street retailer Next is currently providing the best overall customer service and engagement across four key social media channels, according to research commissioned by IMGROUP which examined the social footprint of the top ten ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers in the UK.
Using metrics such as number of followers, response rate and response time across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+, the results found Next was top performer on Facebook, and second best on Twitter. Argos came in second overall, followed by Marks & Spencer which placed third.
“This report demonstrates how important social media has become for all retailers. In the battle to compete with online giants such as ASOS and Amazon, bricks and mortar retailers are increasingly harnessing the power of social media as a means to actively engage with their customers, increasingly exploring newer channels like Pinterest,” said Martin Philpott, head of retail at IMGROUP.
All of the retailers surveyed were found to have a presence on Facebook, using the platform for customer service, complaint handling and audience engagement. All of the retailers' Facebook pages appeared to be open to customer questions, except for Ikea’s UK page. Six out of the ten retailers had an above average response rate compared with the worldwide industry average of 67 per cent, while eight out of ten had an above average response time when compared to the worldwide average of 25 hours and 15 minutes.
According to the survey Next had a Facebook response rate of 92 per cent and a response time of 28 minutes, with Argos and Boots following second and third respectively for Facebook usage.
All ten retailers were found to be present on Twitter, with seven of the ten (Argos, Next, Homebase, John Lewis, Currys PC World and B&Q) running a specific Twitter account dedicated solely to online customer service. Both Marks & Spencer and Ikea used their corporate Twitter handle for customer service and engagement. Superdrug and Boots do not use Twitter for customer service and complaint handling.
Argos was found to provide the best service on Twitter, with a response rate of 76 per cent and a response time of 55 minutes. Next came second for Twitter service, followed by Marks & Spencer.
Only four retailers (Marks & Spencer, Next, John Lewis and Ikea) were found to use Pinterest to engage customers in conversation and provide customer service. As a result, engagement on this channel is measured in the number of pin, boards and likes, and secondly by the number of followers. Based in this Marks & Spencer achieved the highest overall score, followed by Next and John Lewis respectively.
Seven of the ten retailers were found to be present on Google+ though Currys PC World was the only retailer actively using the channel to engage with its audience and handle questions and complaints. Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Next, Argos, Homebase, Boots UK all post publicially and on a regular basis but did not publically engage in customer service or query handling on Google+.
Philpott added that the next step for retailers was to start making “use of the information consumers share on social media sites to achieve a better understanding of behaviour and buying patterns, enabling them to interact with their customers in a much more seamless, targeted and engaging way.”
The full list of retailer rankings can be found below:
Next: Overall ranking – 1. (Facebook ranking – 1, Twitter ranking – 2, Pinterest ranking – 2, Google+ ranking – 4)
Argos: Overall ranking – 2. (Facebook ranking – 2, Twitter ranking – 1, Pinterest ranking – 5, Google+ ranking – 5)
Marks & Spencer: Overall ranking – 3. (Facebook ranking – 5, Twitter ranking – 3, Pinterest ranking – 1, Google+ ranking – 2)
John Lewis: Overall ranking – 4. (Facebook ranking – 6, Twitter ranking – 5, Pinterest ranking – 3, Google+ ranking – 3)
Homebase: Overall ranking – 5. (Facebook ranking – 4, Twitter ranking – 4, Pinterest ranking – 10, Google+ ranking – 6)
Currys PC World: Overall ranking – 6. (Facebook ranking – 8, Twitter ranking – 8, Pinterest ranking – 7, Google+ ranking – 1)
Boots: Overall ranking – 7. (Facebook ranking – 3, Twitter ranking – 10, Pinterest ranking – 9, Google+ ranking – 7)
Ikea: Overall ranking – 8. (Facebook ranking – 6, Twitter ranking – 6, Pinterest ranking – 4, Google+ ranking – 9)
B&Q: Overall ranking – 9. (Facebook ranking – 7, Twitter ranking – 7, Pinterest ranking – 6, Google+ ranking – 10)
Superdrug: Overall ranking – 10. (Facebook ranking – 9, Twitter ranking – 9, Pinterest ranking – 8, Google+ ranking – 8)