It certainly isn't for a lack of effort, but even with the holiday season here, retailers continue to struggle with using social media sites to drive sales. In fact, new 2012 Holiday Benchmark Reports for Black Friday and Cyber Monday from IBM show that retailers have actually taken a step or two backwards in the social commerce arena.
On Black Friday, shoppers referred from various social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube generated 0.34 percent of all online sales, a drop of more than 35 percent from the same day last year.
Results were not much better on Cyber Monday where social media site referrals generated 0.41 percent of online sales, down more than 26 percent from 2011.
Meanwhile, Facebook is looking for its Gifts service to help address its sales challenge. The service, which was launched in September, enables Facebook users to buy and send gifts from a variety of merchants to family and friends. The social media service takes a cut of each sale.
New York's Magnolia Bakery, which sells artisan cupcakes, is one of the merchants participating in Facebook Gifts. Sara Gramling, vice president for public relations for the bakery, told The New York Times, "It was a great opportunity to expand our network."
Which social media site do you think has the greatest potential to drive retail sales in the future?