Over the past few months, this digital literacy series has explored the various ways digital media is impacting the world we live in. It’s changed the way we consume media and the manner in which we carry out our day-to-day activities. Few industries, if any, have not been affected by the growing popularity of social media.
And it’s having an undeniable influence on the way companies interact with current and potential customers. Traditional customer service methods have been made archaic in a world of real-time status updates and online comment sections. Very few of us make big purchasing decisions without looking up reviews online first. And we’re much more likely to be influenced by the opinions of people we know – and even strangers with shared interests – than we are by a salesperson.
What does this mean for businesses? Well, according to recent studies and statistics on social commerce (see below), our online shopping habits are growing and evolving every day. Businesses that remain out of the social sphere will be missing out on access to their most social, engaged and enthusiastic customers.
Online shopping turned social shopping
Online shopping is not all that new. For years, people have been performing Google searches on everything from blenders to purses, reading reviews and then either buying the items online, or heading into a store to purchase them. It’s becoming old news that online conversations have a real impact on how people spend their money – and that includes purchasing material items and accessing services.
What is new though, is the growing trend of social shopping, where people share information on the purchases they’ve made through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. In making recommendations to friends and like-minded people, they influence them to buy the same product or shop with the same retailer.
Facebook in particular is a big hub for social shopping (no surprise there). In fact, a recent study by Forrester Research indicates that a company’s Facebook fans make the best customers because they are more likely than non-fans to:
- Consider buying
- Purchase (79% vs. 41%)
- Recommend (74% vs. 38%)
The future’s bright for social shoppers
Much like all things social media, social shopping is on the rise. According to Gloople:
By 2015, 50% of companies will generate web sales via their social presence and mobile applications.