Retailers Embrace Social Media for Customer Engagement, Brand Interactivity, and Revenue

85% of Retailers Have a Social Media Initiative in Place to Help Manage Brand Reputation and Encourage Revenue-Building Consumer Interactivity

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - September 8, 2010) -  In the face of difficult market conditions, including a sluggish lift in consumer spend, retailers are under pressure to manage brand reputation and encourage revenue-building consumer interactivity. To that end, 85% of organizations that responded to Aberdeen Group's recent survey are embracing social media initiatives to encourage the dynamic exchange of information between themselves and their customers using company blogs, on-line forums, websites or various other types of media. The impetus for social media adoption comes directly from an increased consumer utilization of this medium as a primary shopping and research tool (53%), as well as its increasing usage among competitors (47%), according to the Aberdeen Group report, Social Media: Customer Engagement, Brand Interactivity, and Revenue. The research from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS) details the business benefits derived from upgraded social media-based process optimization.

According to Aberdeen data, the majority of social media initiatives are still in their relative infancy (50% of these initiatives are two years old or less). To that end, one of the top actions associated with social media is to define KPIs relevant to measuring its success (25%). However, for retailers, this is easier said than done. More than half of respondents (56%) indicated that they are unable to quantify the effect of social media on their organization, and an additional 24% indicated "gut feel" measurement.

"There is no doubt when it comes to the pervasiveness of social media among retailers," says Greg Belkin, chief author and retail social media analyst, Aberdeen. "The challenge, however, is to turn this pervasiveness into something measureable. Social media initiatives have a lot of interest because they are new and have consumer cache. As time progresses, however, retailers must determine its exact benefit to support future investments."

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A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: J.D. Power Web Intelligence and Venda. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: The association partner for this report is the National Retail Federation (NRF).

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company
Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

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