5 Social Media Shopping Insights [Charts]

Social Media Drives Sales – You Need Now!

Social media influences sales. For many retailers, it’s difficult to track this because its impact often occurs before they know prospects are in shopping mode. Social media is a critical aspect of the purchase process regardless of where shoppers buy.

Here are five shopping insights based on research by Shop.org, comScore and the Partnering Group and other research by Steelhouse.

1. Shoppers seek retailers on social media.

Two out of five consumers follows retailers on one or more social media platforms. For retailers, social media is the must-be-seen-on real estate that attracts prospects and customers. Whether it’s Fifth Avenue, Rodeo Drive, Facebook or Pinterest – location, location, location is the retail watchword. Similarly you must be on the social media platforms where your prospects turn for shopping information and input from their family, friends and social media colleagues.  Research  Chart

2. Social media influences sales.

Don’t limit your social media platform and format choices when it comes to supporting the sales process.

  • 70% of consumers click-through on a retail blog to the firm’s website
  • 68% of consumers use YouTube to browse and research products.
  • 59% of Pinterest users purchased after they saw an item on the social media site. (Here are 5 tactics to maximize Pinterest.)
  • 33% of Facebook users purchased an item after they saw it on their newsfeed or a friend’s wall (meaning it was influenced by their friends.)

To this end, don’t underestimate the power of viewing purchases by social media buddies to influence sales. 

3. Shoppers seek relevant product information across variety of platforms.

The bottom line is consumers research products before they buy, now more than ever. For marketers, it’s not a matter of just hanging up your online shingle in the form of a website. Merchandising requires quality content marketing that you and your customers create. While at least half of consumers seek deals or coupons, you still need to provide quality information about your products and services in the form of product information, reviews, news, how-tos, styling and expert advice. Need some content marketing ideas? Here are 42 suggestions to support sales Content Marketing Research Chart - HeidiCohen.com

4. Mobile goes shopping.

Many retailers focus on mobile devices, both smartphones and tablets, to provide consumers with product and purchase information on the go. One third of smartphone owners has shared their location with a retailer.  Understandably, men are more willing to share their whereabouts than women. Here’s what consumers look for on retailer mobile applications based on Shop.org’s research:

  • 32% Browse for items
  • 26% Check for discounts and deals
  • 22% Make purchases.

5. Shoppers don’t shop alone.

From purchase consideration to deal closing perspectives, don’t overlook the fact that shopping is a social activity. Think shopping in the mall or with the girls. Consumers want or need to get input from their family and friends through the use of photographs and old-fashioned one-to-one communication. Bear in mind many purchase decisions are made by more than one person. Specifically, smartphone owners:

  • 37% take pictures of products.
  • 34% send the pictures of the products they see to friends.
  • 33% text/call friends/family about specific products while shopping.

5 Tactics to use social media to improve your merchandising

From a retailer’s perspective, this social media research translates to these five practical tactics:

  1. Show up on social media venues where your prospects and customers are. To this end, understand who your customers are by creating both marketing personas and related social media personas.
  2. Use a variety of social media content to attract prospects. Go beyond the basics of Facebook. Specifically, use a combination of text, video and images such as blogs, YouTube and Pinterest.
  3. Provide useful information consumers seek. Think content that answers prospects’ questions and persuades them to buy. Of course, don’t forget to include consumer reviews.
  4. Be ready when consumers are ready to buy. This means having tailored landing pages and streamlining the purchase process on your site or in your store to convert prospects quickly or you risk that they’ll go elsewhere.
  5. Track more than the last touched media. To this end incorporate call-to-actions and tracking codes to be able to determine which of your social media and content marketing efforts contribute to sales.

Social media drives purchasing by providing additional information shoppers seek and allows them to get feedback from their family friends and social media contacts. To take advantage of the opportunities social media offers, retailers must be present on appropriate venues and create effective content marketing. For many retailers, the challenge is tracking the results.

What other social media related retail tactics would you recommend?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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  • http://www.facebook.com/josephruizjr Joseph Ruiz

    Great list of suggestions and some terrific resources Heidi. I would add claiming local space to the list since Google favors local search and so many mobile consumers are searching from their devices. Checking out location based services might be a good idea too depending of course on the business and their consumer behavior thanks for sharing.

  • Ginny Soskey

    Awesome post, Heidi! I need to bookmark this post to pull up whenever someone tries to argue that social media is not important. I especially love #5 – social shopping is important both offline and online. Thanks for taking the time to write and share this. :)

  • http://barrettrossie.com/ Barrett Rossie

    Heidi, you do such a great job of compiling relevant information. I wish I could sit with you as you’re doing your research! Cheers