[Infographic] Battle of The Shopping Carts in Unmetric’s Social Media Retail Report


Peter Claridge

August 8, 2014 5 min read

Updated on September 18, 2019

In the battle of the shopping carts, Walmart shows the world how retail can be social. Shoppers and Facebookers alike are voting with their Likes, Comments and Shares to help propel the brand in to number one position. I hate to use a tired old pun, but when it comes to Twitter, Target prove that they are right on target. *Cringe* (I promise there will be no more puns).

The Unmetric score shows that on Facebook, only Walmart and Target are battling it out for first place. Walmart scored 75 and Target scored 72. There is then a significant drop off to third place, where Khol’s and Macy’s are tying with a score of 52. Old Navy has more than twice the number of fans compared to Sears, but since the Unmetric Score takes in to account far more metrics than just fan numbers, Sears is actually doing a better job with a score of 41 compared to Old Navy’s 37.

Unmetric Retail Sector Unmetric Scores

Twitter tells a different story where Walmart isn’t the 500lb (or is it 800? No one seems to know) gorilla in the room. That title goes to Target which leads the retail sector with an Unmetric Score of 52. Second is Nordstrom with 48 and Walmart lands in third place with 43.

Unmetric Retail Twitter Followers

In the six month period we looked at, Target registered some spectacular growth on Facebook, growing their fan base by a little over 83%. The chart below shows just how dominant Facebook is for the retail sector compared to Twitter. Surprisingly, Walmart only managed to grow their Twitter account by 4% in six months, an indication of how important Facebook is as a channel to reach their audience.

Retail Sector Growth on Facebook and Twitter

Part of the reason Walmart is dominating on Facebook is due to their strategy of posting plenty of updates, seven days a week. Just like their stores, Walmart’s social media operation is a 24×7 affair. In the period we analyzed, Walmart posted 631 times, followed closely by Sears and then Nordstrom. There is of course a fine balance between posting too much and not posting enough. Creating unique content several times a day means a team of people working hard to strategize and plan well in advance and is an indication of how seriously a brand is taking their social media efforts.

Walmart also has one of the most vocal fan bases, with the highest number of fan posts on their wall, but in terms of fan posts vs fan numbers, JCPenny is leading here. However, almost a third of those posts had a negative sentiment, more than any other brand.

Retail Sector Facebook Admin and Fan Posts

Target is only posting a third of the posts compared to Walmart, but is seeing slightly better fan engagement, with an Engagement Score of 33 to Walmart’s 30. In comparison, other brands are not able to engage their fans as well. Gap is trailing the sector with an Engagement Sscore of just 8.

Retail Sector Social Media Engagement Scores

Part of the reason why brands are struggling to engage their fans could be down to the chosen content strategy. What a brand posts has a big impact on the way fans engage. The chart below shows that retail brands were more interested in posting about store specific updates which drove good engagement. Interestingly, when it came to deals and offers, it didn’t resonate as well as other content types.

Retail Sector Social Media Content Strategy

Despite not being as developed a platform as Facebook, all the brands we looked at had a presence on Twitter. Increasingly, Twitter is being used by brands to provide customer support and up to the minute information to their customers. Of the brands using Twitter for customer support, Nordstrom is leading the way, replying to over 7,200 tweets – the highest percentage of all the brands analyzed. Macy’s and Target are also using their main Twitter account to provide customer support, but are replying to far less tweets. Walmart was the least likely to reply to tweets on Twitter.

Retail Sector Twitter Strategy

Replying to tweets is one thing, but in a social network that thrives on split second communication, keeping your customers waiting for the response is as good as not replying at all. To this end, we looked at the average reply time of the brands to understand who’s got their finger on the buzzer. The chart below shows that on the few occasions that Walmart does reply, they are very quick to do so. The real winner though, seems to be Nordstrom, which replies to thousands of tweets in an average of just under two hours. On the other end of the spectrum, even though they are replying to plenty of tweets, Macy’s is taking an average of over 10 hours to respond which is likely to frustrate rather than help people.

Retail Sector Average Reply Time on Twitter

The demographics analysis makes for interesting reading. Despite being aimed at both men and women, a staggering 95% of Nordstrom’s fans are female. Sears, which has a larger range of products, had the most male fans out of all the brands, but was still highly female dominated at 63%.

Retail Sector Social Media Demographics

So there we have it, Walmart is leading the retail sector on Facebook, but with high growth, huge number of followers and quick replies, Target is winning on Twitter. Macy’s is doing well on Twitter in terms of replying to their customer tweets, but they can really improve their Unmetric Score by responding a whole lot faster. Infact, all the brands can learn from the aviation industry when it comes to giving prompt replies on Twitter.


The Unmetric platform was used to gather the data. Data was taken between January and June 2012. The Engagement Scores are calculated based on the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Impressions a post receives. The Unmetric Score is a scientific blend of various quantitative and qualitative measurements, weighted and balanced to produce a single unifying score that accurately represents the social media efforts of big brands around the world.

All data has been compiled and analyzed from the Unmetric application which tracks dozens of metrics to enable brands to benchmark themselves against competitors and their industry sector. Gain access to all this data by claiming a 10 day free trial.

Infographic Usage

You are free to reproduce the infographic in its entirety provided that full credit remains with Unmetric, the Unmetric logo and methodology is included and the work is fully attributed to Unmetric.

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