The use of social media sites like Facebook has exploded in recent years – the site recently hit one billion users. But while people are checking out social media sites daily, how many of them actually shop?
A recent study showed that seven out of ten online shoppers who took the survey say they never shop this way. That should also remain the status quo for the immediate future, as only about 5% say they’ll shop more via social media in the next 12 months.
But still, what are online shoppers doing on social media? Essentially they’re commenting on companies and products they know and discovering new ones. However, there are differences in motivation among these social media users, divided into three groups based on their behavior: “brand lovers,” “deal hunters” and “social addicts”.
Out of those brand lovers who say they interact with brands via social media, 53% go shopping in a physical store daily or weekly, compared to 45% of the overall sample, and 58% buy something in a physical store at least once a week. The deal hunters say they’ll click through to a specific online store if offered a good sale or an attractive special offer. Appealing to deal hunters looking for good offers and contests can be a great way to drive traffic to the provider’s website. Noone can afford to ignore the social addicts – they use social media to talk about their experiences with brands, learn what their friends like and recommend, find customer service answers, and submit ideas and product feedback to companies. Getting the message out to social addicts can support the brand, while ignoring them carries significant reputational risk, as these very active online users tend to have huge social media networks and wield an outsized influence among them.
So, will social media be an indispensable sales channel? Not likely but there’s good reason for retailers to continue focusing on social media investment. Campalyst analysed the world’s 250 biggest internet retailers and found that 97% of them are already on Facebook, 96% have a presence on Twitter, and 90% use YouTube. The social media traffic generated in many cases is impressive; 43 of the 250 can claim more than one million followers on Facebook.
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