Study: Retailers Ignore Over 80% of Customers’ Requests via Social Media

Sprout Social has found most that merchants fail to respond to consumer questions on Facebook and Twitter, a problem compounded during the holiday shopping season when the volume of requests increases.

The stats from the Spout Social’s Q4 2015 Index are damning. Retailers failed to respond to more than 80 percent of consumer questions and requests on social media in the last year. And the cold shoulder from merchants was coldest when you’d think they could least afford it, during the holiday shopping season. During the fourth quarter of 2014, only 16.35 percent of customer queries to retailers were answered.


Compounding the issue is the fact that consumers are more demanding during the run-up to the holidays. Last year, there was a 21-percent increase in the number of inbound social media messages to retailers from the third quarter to the fourth. Sprout Social expects the same this year, predicting that the average retailer will get more than 1,500 messages on Facebook and Twitter during the holiday season. And if last year’s response trends stay the same, five of every six of those messages will be ignored.

Even retailers that regularly answer questions on social media struggle with the concept. People expect quick answers — one of the reasons why they turn to social media — but the average response time for retailers in the Sprout Social Index is 12 hours.

It’s not that these companies are inactive on social media. It’s just that they are mostly acting like a megaphone. During the third quarter of 2015, retailers sent three times more promotional messages than replies.

Retailers would be wise to be more responsive, Sprout Social said, noting another study that found people are seven times more likely to respond to promotions after a brand interacts with them in a meaningful way.

Adapted from

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