Online Shoppers And Social Media

It is becoming more and more evident that smart usage of social media has an impact on consumers purchase choices. The online retailer should be looking into how their websites can better serve their customers. Look at the reasons in the press release below and figure out how to improve the user experience. See what people are using to make their buying decisions and incorporate them into the website. Smart small business owners use all avenues to drive traffic to their website and social media is great word of mouth, and that is the best free advertising there is.

Full impact of social sources on the consumer purchase process revealed

Consumers spend just six minutes of a 24-hour process on a retailer site

London, UK ??? June 22nd 2011 ??? Shoppers avoid talking to brands about their products and even dodge the websites of the retailers they will eventually buy from until their decision to purchase has already been made. Instead, on a scale previously unimagined, they do their pre-purchase research by tapping into a variety of social sources including friends and family, consumer reviews and Facebook friends. When they do decide to buy, they spend an average of just six minutes on a retailer website after a purchase journey of 24 hours, according to research commissioned by Europe???s largest social commerce company, Reevoo.

At all stages of the purchase journey, consumers??? faith in social sources of information is now higher than in any alternative: 70% rate friends??? recommendations as important, while 62% of people rate consumer reviews as important ??? significantly more than those who rate the media, or shop assistants recommendations as important at 35% and 28% respectively.

The research also shows that mobile and Facebook have become the tools of choice for a significant proportion of shoppers. The proportion using their smartphone to research and solicit information – even while physically standing in a bricks-and-mortar outlet ??? is now 38%, and a further 39% turn to their social network on Facebook to research and make purchase decisions.

Today also sees the launch of Reevoo???s extensive new portfolio of social commerce products, developed in light of these research results to help retailers and brands respond to the changing consumer journey. Reevoo???s new solutions have been designed to help retailers move beyond product reviews and ratings to address issues of brand, service, engagement, real-time response and post-sales support ??? in effect, to establish presence and trust, far more widely. [See separate announcement, Reevoo expands portfolio to simplify social commerce.]

See here for a short video of Richard Anson, Reevoo CEO and founder, describing the key research findings. These are:

  • Participation in the social commerce process is now the norm rather than the exception. 47% of consumers report that they have written a product review, more than those who haven???t.
  • Shoppers spend a long time deciding what to buy, with 90% spending at least 24 hours researching a major purchase. However only a fraction of this time ??? six minutes ??? is actually spent on retailer product pages, highlighting the need for retailers to engage and influence consumers across the web, offline and on mobile. This increases to 14 minutes for retailers using social content effectively.
  • It???s not just what people are buying, but from whom they???re buying that???s important to them. 73% of shoppers will check consumer opinion before buying from an unknown or little-known retailer, with 58% specifically searching online for service reviews before they purchase.
  • People have no qualms about publicly using a mobile device to make checks, even in-store. 38% now use their mobiles to help them research and make purchases in some way, with a third using their mobile phones to research product information, read consumer reviews and check prices.
  • 39% of people turn to their social network on Facebook to research and make purchase decisions. While buying activities on the social network is still a niche pursuit, it is increasingly popular for the research and recommendation-type activities that typify the early stages of a purchase journey.
  • Advertising is no longer relevant. Only 24% of consumers believe that their purchase behaviour is influenced by advertising.
  • Product reviews and ratings remain core to the buying process. 87% of shoppers sometimes or always read reviews before making a purchase.
  • Good reviews matter, but bad reviews matter more. 69% of consumers trust reviews more when they can see bad reviews as well as good. In fact, 38% are more likely to read the bad reviews than the good ones ??? but only 5% say they won???t buy a product with bad reviews.
  • Additional social information is welcome, with 86% of shoppers using smart recommendations including what others are buying, frequently bought with, or stock levels, to decide what to purchase. Calls-to-purchase based on what shoppers ultimately bought, urgency, stock levels are deemed useful by 64%, 58% and 45% of shoppers respectively.
  • In social commerce, independence is cherished. Consumers trust independent reviews more, at 56%, versus reviews collected by brands or retailers themselves, at 19%.

The purchasing behaviour identified in the survey results requires retailers and brands to re-evaluate their social commerce strategies in order to establish consumer trust at key decision points in that journey. Customers will only engage with a retailer who has managed to establish trust earlier in the purchasing journey.

Richard Anson, Reevoo???s CEO and founder, said: ???The raw statistics tell some of the story; the rest of our conclusions are drawn from discussions with, and the experiences of, many of our 120 partners. Taken together, we know how the journey has evolved, where the decision points are, and how those decisions are made. What is clear is that no longer can any retailer control the purchase journey ??? but all retailers are in a position to influence it.???

???Consumers spend a lot of time considering what to buy with 90% spending at least 24 hours researching significant purchases. Yet our analysis shows that only a tiny fraction of that time, just six minutes, is spent at the final stage of purchase on product pages on the retailer or brand???s site ??? but this more than doubles to 14 minutes for retailers deploying social commerce content effectively,??? he continued.

???While it???s vital for retailers to fine-tune their on-site experience to ensure that consumers get what they need to make a purchase, this is no longer enough; retailers need to engage with shoppers everywhere. That means across the web, on social networks, and on Google, as well as offline and on mobile devices,??? he added.

For further research details and analysis, download ???The Reevoo consumer purchasing report, June 2011??? [pdf].

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