Social Media can be game changer in Indian retail: Study

Social Media can be game changer in Indian retail: Study New Delhi: Even as retail sales are still primarily being dominated by hypermarkets, supermarkets, and specialty stores, the influence of social media and Internet on offline purchasing is becoming increasingly important, acting as a complete ‘game changer’, a new study has revealed.

According to a recent study conducted by Annik Technology Services, though this is just the beginning, retailers in India have started adopting social media realizing the power of it, as there is considerable untapped opportunity.

“There is a lot of communication happening online but there are not many that are being addressed. This certainly can be leveraged to identify the needs of the people you are engaging with and how you should go about approaching them,” said Partha Sarathi Sengupta, Senior Project Director- Analytics Practice of Annik Technology Services.

The study reveals that the total penetration of the Internet is 12% only, which leaves ample space for the Internet to grow and consecutively social media to spread its wing. With a backdrop of changing lifestyle, increased incomes, the demographic variability, and vibrant democracy a sharp rise in the social media usage in India can be expected, the study noted.

According to the study, two third of social media users in India access a social media site every day and social networking accounted for over 25 percent of all time spent online, and social media is growing very fast in India at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 50 percent. Retailers have understood that they can get meaningful insights and use it for decision making in launching new campaign, CRM programs etc, the study said.

“It is interesting to see how marketers can take advantage of that. This is the platform where consumers talk free. Social media can get you the exact sentiment of customers, you don''t have to ask structured questions or probe, no more feedback cards,” added Sengupta.