Social channels have proven to be effective for retail engagement, as consumers are increasingly utilizing networks such as Facebook and Twitter to send and receive feedback throughout the purchase process.
Recent research confirms this. Wantlet, Inc., a Finland-based social commerce company, recently revealed the results of a consumer survey that explored the ways social networking impacts product discovery, recommendations, advocacy and intent to purchase. The results indicated that friends, family and product experts have an increasingly powerful influence on pre-purchase interest and actual buying behavior, with more than 82% of respondents indicating that they seek social input on where to find the best deals and product comparisons.
The survey, which was completed by more than 700 consumers across the U.S. and Europe, found that 75% of respondents had been positively influenced by the online recommendations of friends and family to read an advertisement and/or check out a product web page. A total of 66% of respondents have been positively influenced by online product experts.
More than 70% of respondents said entertainment media and clothing are the two categories where social networking and its influence have the greatest impact on shopping.
“The survey results confirm the emerging segment of what we define as social shopping and the growing importance of social networking on e-Commerce overall,” said Eero Kaikkonen, CEO and Co-Founder of Wantlet. “Wantlet is in the process of helping consumers find more of what they want, while assisting retailers and brands in increasing their sales and advertising conversion rates.”
Aligned with the idea that the act of shopping has long been a socially driven activity, 75% of consumers indicated that they are influenced by friends and family, while 64% are influenced by product experts. Conversely, 62% said they were influenced by retailers and brands.
The desire for “great deals” led 82% of respondents to seek input from other sources, followed by the desire for “more information and comparisons” (80%).
“Neighbors,” or family and friends, crowned the list of the most useful and frequently consulted resources at 60%, followed by Facebook (47%), and smart phones (28%).