How Consumers Use Social Networks to Connect with Food Retailers: Expected Web Presence
Posted: June 18, 2012
Looking first at websites, nearly half of the survey participants responded that they felt it was mandatory for a food retailer to have a website that promoted food products while only 35% indicated that it was mandatory for the website to sell products through e-commerce (Table 1). In regard to emails, 35% felt it was mandatory for the food retailer to have an email newsletter. Meanwhile, only 26% felt it was mandatory for the business to send other types of emails, those not related to a newsletter. As we looked at social media, we saw that about one in five indicated that they felt a Facebook Page or Profile was mandatory. That figure falls to fewer than 10% for Twitter, blogs, and MySpace.
Table 1. Components survey participants felt were mandatory for a food retailer.
|Website for promoting food products
|Website for selling food products
|Email sent by the business
|Facebook Page that consumers
As shown in Table 2, the expectations differed significantly across age groups. The percent of those who felt that a website for selling products was mandatory increased with age while the percent of those who felt a Facebook page was mandatory decreased with age. With respect to gender differences, more females (27.1%) were more likely than males (18.4%) expected a food retailer to have a Facebook Page. Finally, those with a high school degree or less were significantly more likely than those with at least some college to believe that a Facebook Page was mandatory (Table 3).
Table 2. Percent of participants, segmented by age group, who responded that they expected a food retailer to have a website for selling products and/or a Facebook Page.
||Website for selling product
|Facebook Page is mandatory
|18 to 24
|25 to 36
|37 to 48
|49 to 64
|65 and older
Table 3. Percent of respondents by education level who thought a Facebook Page was mandatory for a food retailer.
|High school graduate or less
|M.S. degree or greater
In the next article, we will present data that discusses which tools respondents found useful in connecting with fruit and vegetable businesses. To view the entire YouTube series, please visit http://bit.ly/wWIXto.
- Assistant to the Director for Special Program Initiatives
- Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management