|Retailers gather for the 360.3 Showroom Forum in Manchester at the luxury Malmaison hotel|
Bathroom and kitchen retailers slammed the use of social media to attract consumers, at the recent 360.3 Showroom Forum in Manchester. The high street retailers strongly denied that social media networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, could offer a source of sales leads. Tina Riley of Modern Homes blasted: "Nobody buys a bathroom off Facebook. It's a considered purchase, which can take weeks of research. The whole sales process, including designing the bathroom, takes time."
This marries with recent research from the SME association Forum of Private Business, which found many of its members had a Twitter or Facebook account but weren't sure of its value.
While this jury had clearly closed the case for social media networking, rather than being a driver of sales, could social networking help raise or maintain a company's profile/brand? Whatever a personal point of view, if a business is to use social media networking, it must be as part of a marketing strategy firmly focused on its target consumers.
However, the panel of expert retailers did agree that the internet was important for the future success of their businesses and that a website presence was vital.