Tuesday Jul 09, 2013

In Search of Social Shopaholics

shopperIf you’re looking for people who are into social shopping, that is, shopping with friends or shopping based on what a friend told them, you don’t have to look very far.

Michael Aldrich made shopping online a reality way back in 1979. He connected a TV he’d altered to a real-time transaction processor using a phone line. It was the first time IT became “participative,” wherein a closed corporate system could communicate with outsiders for transactions or some other communication.

Don’t like my history lesson? Then fast forward to today and the level of acceptance of e-commerce…buying things online.

US online sales in the first quarter of 2012 hit $50,270,000,000. Forrester believes that in 2017, it’ll hit $370 billion and online will make up 10% of ALL US retail sales. Why? The top reasons people like shopping online are that it saves them time (73%), it offers more choices (67%), and it’s easy to compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal (59%).

It’s a global thing. The MasterCard Online Shopping Survey showed 91% of South Africans who shop online are highly satisfied with the experience. Now consider the rise of mobile around the world and the impact that has on online shopping as more people can research any purchase at any time from anywhere. Webloyalty says mobile shopping is predicted to drive 25% of retail sales by 2020.

Early reluctance is fading, the public’s comfort level with buying online is only going up. Now add to this time and money-saving convenience the influence social has on purchasing.

Common sense should tell us how social helps sales. If you’re in a store with a friend, considering an item, and the friend says, “Oh yeah, I bought that and I love it,” the deal is done. Social makes it possible to have not just one friend, but ALL your friends in the store with you. In fact, they’re with you even if you’re considering an item outside of a store.

75% of shoppers who read social feedback clicked on the product link taking them to the retailer’s site. 53% of those people bought the item. Facebook drives 26% of referral traffic to business sites. Retailers aren’t living under a rock. They’re deeply incorporating social across channels. They’re engaging people on their social properties, then pointing them back to their owned retail sites. And icing on the cake: they’re getting real-time, actionable social data that can help rapidly adjust and improve customer experiences.

Make the leap from e-commerce to s-commerce, conducting transactions within the Facebook or social environment itself, and you’ve eliminated yet another step/barrier to the sale. 20% of shoppers prefer buying products through a brand’s Facebook page compared to a brand site. 77% of people like getting exclusive deals they can redeem through Facebook. Why make shoppers cross the virtual street when the purchase can be made right where they are, before they change their minds? As long as your back end is set up in a way such as Oracle offers, with its powerful ATG online commerce platform fully integrated with the Shop module of it’s Social Relationship Management platform, you lose nothing by taking care of business right there on Facebook.

With online sales from social expected to grow 93% per year over the next 4 years, and with mobile making the nearly instantaneous discover/research/purchase sales cycle commonplace, the social networks might just be the place you want to hang that shingle.

@mikestiles

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