A new study has been released entitled “The Social Shopping Explosion”, and the numbers are revealing. Social shopping is booming. In the last month alone, 53% of online shoppers posted a review of a product or service online. And while these numbers are from the UK, we can assume very similar figures from the US. More details of how people are interacting with the social shopping tools available to them are below.
The Social Shopping Explosion by immediate future explores the online shopping habits of 2,000 representative UK citizens.
Key findings from the report include:
- Reviews are important to online shoppers – more people are moving from the “hunter” category of online shopper (looking only for the best deals), to the “collaborator” (searching for the advice and ideas of other consumers). This means more people are turning to online reviews in their consideration phase, rather than logging on to make an immediate purchase.
- Social shopping is about making a decision, not making a purchase – 46% of social shoppers don’t know exactly what they want to buy when they go online. They’re looking for products and services that grab their interests, and reviews and recommendations are significant during this phase of consumer behavior.
- Brand reputation matters – 30% of online shoppers will think positively of a brand if they have read a positive review of its product or service.
- Celebrity endorsements are nothing compared to Joe Smith’s – Consumers want to read reviews written by other consumers, not by celebrities. Across the board, consumers trust the reviews of other consumers far-and-above those of celebrities, journalists or staff.
- You’ve got to incentivize – Consumers want to be rewarded for interacting with your product. The study overwhelmingly shows that people are looking for some incentive to write a review, recommend a product or participate in social shopping. Think points, discounts and social status boosters (like exclusive or insider deals).
The report doesn’t stop there. The customer review is 157% more effective than traditional advertising according to immediate future, and it’s quite easy to get them to write these powerful reviews: offer them something in return. This is the big takeaway from this report. Consumers want to be recognized for contributing positively to your brand, and, according to the study, 83% of online shoppers will write if they get something back.
The above image shows consumer response to the question: “How would you want the online retail site to reward you for recommending the site, providing customer support or reviewing product information?” Respondents overwhelmingly preferred both experiential and transactional rewards, with 75% looking for discounts and 72% wanting exclusive offers.
If you are looking for ways to add a little social spice to your e-commerce offerings, you’ll have to be prepared to give something back to your customers. They want to help you, but only if they get something in return.