Next is best bricks and mortar retailer for service across social media, says IMGROUP

Philpott: importance of social media

Philpott: importance of social media

Next is the bricks and mortar retailer currently providing the best overall customer service and engagement across four key social media channels, according to new research commissioned by IMGROUP, examining the social footprint of 10 top bricks and mortar retailers operating in the UK.

Next is the best performer on Facebook and the second best on Twitter, the two most used channels. Argos was the second highest scoring retailer in the study, followed by Marks & Spencer in third place.

The research examines relevant metrics, such as number of followers, response rate and response time to determine which bricks and mortar retailer is providing the best customer service and engagement across four key social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

All the retailers included in the report have a presence on Facebook, which is used to provide customer service, complaint handling or engaging with their audience in some way. 

All Facebook pages appear to be open and allow people to ask questions, other than Ikea’s UK page. Six out of the 10 retailers have an above average response rate compared to the worldwide industry average response rate of 67%, while eight out of 10 have an above average response time when compared to the worldwide average of 25 hours and 15 minutes.

Next is providing the best online customer service on Facebook with an average response rate of 92% and an average response time of just 28 minutes. Argos and Boots came second and third respectively.

Twitter is unsurprisingly, also widely used, with all of the retailers having a Twitter presence. Seven out of the 10 retailers (Argos, Next, Homebase, John Lewis, Currys PC World and B&Q) have a specific Twitter account dedicated solely to online customer service.

Both Marks and Spencer and IKEA use their corporate Twitter handle for customer service and engagement. However, Superdrug and Boots do not use Twitter for customer service or complaint handling.

Argos is currently providing the best overall online customer service on Twitter and achieved an average response rate of 76% and a response time of 55 minutes. Next received the second highest overall score on Twitter, followed by Marks and Spencer.

Pinterest is a relatively new social media channel and is being used by retailers to create boards and pin content.

However, only four retailers (Marks & Spencer, Next, John Lewis, IKEA) are currently using Pinterest to engage in conversations and provide customer service to their followers. As a result, engagement on this channel is mostly measured by the number of pins, boards and likes, and secondly by the number of followers. Based on this Marks and Spencer achieved the highest overall score on the platform, followed by Next and John Lewis respectively.

Seven out of 10 retailers have a relevant Google+ presence; however Currys PC World is the only retailer that uses the channel to actively engage with its audience and handle questions and complaints. Other retailers including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Next, Argos, Homebase, Boots UK post publicly and on a regular basis, but they do not publically engage in customer service or respond to queries on Google +.

Martin Philpott, head of retail at IMGROUP, said: “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.

“The next step for retailers is to make 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.”

Retailer Overall ranking Facebook ranking Twitter ranking Pinterest ranking Google+ ranking
1)      Next 1 1 2 2 4
2)      Argos 2 2 1 5 5
3)      Marks & Spencer 3 5 3 1 2
4)      John Lewis 4 6 5 3 3
5)      Homebase 5 4 4 10 6
6)      Currys PC World 6 8 8 7 1
7)      Boots 7 3 10 9 7
8)      IKEA 8 6 6 4 9
9)      B&Q 9 7 7 6 10
10)   Superdrug 10 9 9 8 8