Consumers engage with retailers on Facebook more than they do on the retailer websites. Nine in 10 consumers say that how much they spend is influenced by their social media engagement with a brand. And FourSquare has virtually no impact on consumer purchasing.

These are some of the core findings of an independent study released this week by technology consultancy Infosys. "Rethinking Retail" is a report based on interviews with 1,000 consumers and 50 retailers across the United States. In addition to the impact of social media on spend, the study reveals how retailers are struggling to create the kind of consistent and personalized experience online and in stores that drives increased sales.

Key findings of the study:

Social media matters

  • Consumers interact with retailers' Facebook pages (38 percent) more than the brands' own websites (36 percent); a difference that is significantly more pronounced for younger consumers.
  • 89 percent of those who interact with a retailer online through any social media outlet say that the interaction has an impact on their purchase.
  • Women are twice as likely as men to be influenced by Pinterest; YouTube influences twice as many men as women.
  • Only 2 percent of all people polled say that FourSquare has any influence on their purchase.

Brand consistency across channels significantly influences consumer spend

  • Nearly two-thirds of consumers say that consistency plays a role in their tendency to spend with a brand (63 percent).
  • One-third (34 percent) say high consistency across a brand's channels would mean a greater spend, while a lack of consistency results in a reduction in their spending (39 percent).

Consumers see far fewer in-store personalized offers than retailers claim they offer; retailers losing out

  • 59 percent of consumers who have experienced personalization believe it has a noticeable influence on their spending .
  • Though 62 percent of retailers reported that they offer personalized offers in store, only 20 percent of consumers report seeing 'in-store only' personalized offers.

Online shoppers are regularly targeted with more personalized perks than those who shop in-store

  • 39 percent of brands offer product recommendations based on customers' previous purchases online, versus only 10 percent in-store. A minority (45 percent) have offers both online and in-store
  • 48 percent of organizations extend personalized offers/promotions based on customers' previous purchases only online, just 3 percent do so only in-store. A minority (45 percent) have offers both online and in-store.
  • Consumers are three times more likely to impulse-buy in a store than online.

Lack of technology limits retailers who want to offer superior customer experience 

  • 96 percent of consumers expect retailers to inform them of new products. Only 34 percent of retailers, however, can track consumer trends in real time, reducing their ability to rollout appropriate offers which can drive sales.
  • Lack of technology is the most common factor (38 percent) preventing retailers from creating a more integrated customer experience within their organization.

Read more about consumer behavior.

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