Retailers Get Ready for Social Shopping Experience - Online shopping is more than just transactional
People have long shared product opinions with friends and family through word-of-mouth. Today, social media tools enable consumers to extend their connections and conduct commerce in powerful new ways.
As people spend more time on social networks, retailers feel pressure to be there as well. Twitter is a hotbed of experimentation for retailers that see it as a channel for customer service, promoting the deal of the day and more. Facebook and its third-party developers are creating e-commerce applications on the site. Meanwhile, retail Websites are bolstering their social commerce features.
“While user ratings and reviews are a mature form of social commerce with proven benefits, e-commerce on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, is in an early stage,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “Social Commerce on Facebook, Twitter and Retail Sites
.” “People are spending more time on social networks and are able to conduct more of their regular activities on these platforms. E-commerce on social networks has barely tapped that potential.”
But forward-thinking retailers want to bring their Web stores to the environments where their customers like to spend time. As a result, almost three-quarters of the merchants in the Internet Retailer Top 500
Guide have a presence on at least one of the major social networks or social shopping sites.
Social network users are a highly coveted group of consumers. Across all age brackets, they were more likely than average to make an online purchase, according to a May 2009 survey by Anderson Analytics
What’s more, social network users are sharing recommendations with greater frequency than generally expected. A Q1 2009 Razorfish survey
of social network users found that some 29% reported sharing their views online at least every few weeks, while 10% said they made such contributions at least every few days.
“Leading companies know they cannot afford to wait for customers to visit their sites,” added Mr. Grau. “They need to place their virtual storefronts where their customers congregate. This implies the nature of e-commerce is shifting from a transactional experience to a social one.”
The full report, “Social Commerce on Facebook, Twitter and Retail Sites
” also answers these key questions:
What is the outlook for social commerce?
How are marketers engaging customers on social media sites?
What social shopping features are retailers adding to their sites?
Which retailers are paving the way in social commerce?
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SOURCE: eMarketer October 26, 2009 www.emarketer.com