Online shoppers check in with Facebook Pages before heading to the checkout

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Facebook is becoming an increasingly useful resource for consumers who are using brands' Facebook Pages to enhance their shopping experience.

One quarter of all consumers visit social networking site Facebook at least once a month to view a Facebook Page for a retailer or consumer product they are interested in.

Fifty-six percent of shoppers visit a brand's Facebook Page to keep up to date with sales and promotions, said market researcher Compete in a recent study on online shoppers and Facebook Pages.

A further 29 percent of consumers use Facebook Pages to learn more about a specific retailer.

"Nearly half of consumers in the study reported that they are a fan of five or more retailers/brands on Facebook," said Matt Pace, Compete managing director of retail and consumer products. "As more data is available to retailers about the benefits of engaging shoppers on Facebook, we'll likely see more emerging strategies to enable brands to more aggressively tap into this opportunity."

The Facebook Pages are not only providing shoppers with discounts and information. In many cases Facebook brand pages are heavily influencing consumers' purchasing decisions too.

"More than 20 percent of consumers said that Facebook pages have been 'influential' or 'extremely influential' in making a purchasing decision," revealed Compete.

Research firm Experian Hitwise reported that for retailers, "each new fan acquired on Facebook is worth 20 additional visits to your website over the course of a year," in a June 23 blog post.

A total of 3,269 online purchasers in the US participated in Compete's Spring 2011 Online Shopper Intelligence report which was conducted between April 14 and May 5, 2011.