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Survey: social media bring few customers to online retailers

December 30, 2010 |  2:29 pm

Amazon Despite the rush by retailers to ramp up their social media presence, only 5% of online holiday shoppers reported being primarily influenced to visit retail websites by social media, according to customer survey results released Thursday.

ForeSee Results collected nearly 10,000 survey responses between Nov. 29 and Dec. 15 from shoppers who had visited 40 top retail sites in the previous 14 days. The survey measured customer satisfaction with the retailers but also unearthed some information about shoppers' buying habits.

It found, for instance that more shoppers came to retailers' sites via promotional e-mails -- 19% -- and Web searches -- 8% -- than through social media. The survey also found that 14% of shoppers accessed retailers via mobile phones, primarily to look up prices and do product research and comparison. A total of 11% reported having bought items using their phones over the holiday season.

The survey looked at the top 40 retail sites by sales volume as reported by Internet Retailer in June, along with EBay.

In terms of customer satisfaction, Amazon and Netflix were tied for the top spot, with a score of 86 (Amazon's score was down by one point from the previous year). L.L. Bean and HSN had the most notable improvements in their scores in the last year, up by three points each to 83 and 79, respectively.

Computer dealer TigerDirect.com came in last with 73 points, followed by Sears with 74.

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-- Abby Sewell

Photo: The Amazon.com site. Credit: Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images

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