Social Media and Shopping: Where Consumers Gather Information [Chart]

7 Tips Improve Social Media Shopping Support

Shopping is an inherently social activity, whether it’s teenage girls at the mall, husbands and wives in the grocery store or mothers and children at a big box retailer. Therefore, it’s no surprise that consumers use social media when they’re evaluating products and making purchase decisions.

Among the top reasons shoppers check social media platforms are to compare prices, check for coupons or sales, get advice or give advice, according to recent Performics and ROI Research. Roughly one third of consumers use social media platforms for customer service.
Customers, Shopping & Social Media

The consumers interviewed were more likely to talk about the product, recommend the product or buy the product, making them brand ambassadors. Don’t jump to the conclusion that this will help your marketing because the research also found that two out five consumers who had liked or followed a product or brand on a social media network neither agree nor disagreed with the “I am more loyal to companies and/or products I’m a fan of on Facebook/Twitter than those I am not a fan of.” This means that prospects and customers are following brands and products on social media platforms for other reasons such as to get better promotional discounts, be entertained, or acquire additional information. Therefore as marketer, don’t assume that every person who clicks the like button truly has feelings for your brand. For brands, this underscores the fact that marketers must entice buyers to take an additional purchase-related action in order to show purchase intent.

7 Tips improve social media shopping support

Here are seven tips for retailers looking to expand their social media network interactions.

  1. Be present on social media networks. Have, at a minimum, a competitive presence or consumers may just buy from competitors. Further, approach your competitive positioning from your shoppers’ point of view.
  2. Provide appropriate product information or at least an entry way to your full offering. The goal is to draw prospects in and get them excited about your products and brands.
  3. Have competitive pricing. Since one of the reasons customers use social media networks is to check prices and look for sales, put your best foot forward or they may just leave your site without clicking further.
  4. Ask for the sale. To this end, publicize your address and phone number. This way, shoppers can order or take the next step if they’re ready to buy. Don’t forget to include a call-to-action to help them through the purchase process.
  5. Be prepared to respond to customer questions. Customers will use any communications channel for customer service so ensure that you can route questions or answer them directly and promptly.
  6. Give consumers a platform to express themselves. Since customers seek and give purchase-related advice, it’s important to provide a forum where they can exchange their ideas. Bear in mind that consumers trust other customers, not your company! If members of the community can’t answer  questions, then representatives can enter the conversation.
  7. Allow customers to shop from the social media entity (where possible). Make purchasing as frictionless as possible by allowing prospects and customers to purchase directly from you on a social media platform (such as Facebook) and, as a second choice, link them as close to your purchase page as possible.

Don’t forget that shopping is an innately social endeavor. Therefore, provide the social support needed to close the sale.

Are there any other social media factors that influence commerce you’d include in this list? If so, what are they?

Please include your ideas in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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