Defining the Social Shopper Term
According to Commerce in Motion.com, social shoppers are consumers who regularly use social networks and apps, smartphones, and location-based services as part of their shopping lifestyle. Your business marketing strategy should encompass this very influential segment.
Social Shopping is a method of e-commerce where shoppers’ friends become involved in the shopping experience. Social shopping attempts to use technology to mimic the social interactions found in physical malls and stores.
A slang term used to describe networked shopping. In electronic commerce it refers to consumers who use social networking services and sites to share their latest purchases, deals, coupons, product reviews, want lists, and other shopping finds. Some people may use affiliate links when they write about shopping and products on social spaces including MySpace, Facebook,Twitter and other networking services.
Social shopping has been around for a very long time. People have always asked friends for product or service recommendations, and sharing the virtues and headaches of purchases has been around forever.
What is different is the scale and scope of the new social shopper. New technologies (like the smartphone) and new platforms (like Groupon) now allow a scale of sharing that is unprecedented.
Although there are formal services that allow consumers to take advantage of special offers by collectively selecting offers, many consumers simply seek advice, recommendations or deals using their own personal networks.
According to a recent study of social shoppers:
- An estimated 70% of social shoppers are also social networkers
- 3 in 5 social shoppers perform competitive price search, find specials, coupons, deals while in retail location
- 53% also searched for product reviews
- 45% researched product availability
- 41% research product information
- 40% alternate store locations
- 37% search for product images 18% product videos (Source: Performics study Oct 2011)
- 45% of social shoppers frequently or occasionally check in at a store
Social Shopper Speed Rules
Based on a March 2012 Compuware survey
- 32% of respondents said they expected a website to load in two seconds on their tablets
- 24% expected the website to load in one second
- 13% felt it should load in less than a second
- 60% of respondents indicated they would wait < 10 min for advice, though1 in 5 stated they would wait between 10-20 min.
“The old two-second guideline has long been surpassed on the racetrack of Web expectations,” said Eric Horvitz, a scientist at Microsoft’s research labs.
People visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds (a millisecond is a thousandth of a second).
“Two hundred fifty milliseconds, either slower or faster, is close to the magic number now for competitive advantage on the Web,” said Harry Shum, a computer scientist and speed specialist at Microsoft.
A Slower User Experience Affects Long Term Behavior
Eric Schurman (Bing) and Jake Brutlag (Google Search) co-presented results from latency experiments conducted independently on each site. Bing found that a 2 second slowdown changed queries/user by -1.8% and revenue/user by -4.3%. Google Search found that a 400 millisecond delay resulted in a -0.59% change in searches/user. What’s more, even after the delay was removed, these users still had -0.21% fewer searches, indicating that a slower user experience affects long term behavior.
Social Shopping Community has High Performance Expectations
Mobile shoppers don’t have much patience; they are quick to penalize a retailer for a bad site experience. When dealing with a problematic website, almost half of survey respondents said they would not be likely to return to the site again. 46% indicated they would be more likely to visit a competitor’s site. About 1/3 of the social shopping community would be less likely to purchase from the company.
Based on these survey findings, there are significant implications for brands that do not accommodate the needs of this audience segment. It’s important to address the issues because you may not get a second chance.
Social Shopping Trends
The growth trend for sales driven by influence of Social Media is expected to double within 5 years according to Barclay’s research. Retailers who figure out how to create a culture that supports this new social shopper will have an advantage over other businesses that don’t.
Sales growth through this channel is expected to grow exponentially within the next five years.
Social Shopping Websites Must Be Well-Planned
To capture and retain social shoppers, companies will need to develop strategies and deploy appropriate resources. You should conduct a mobile-friendly audit.
To make your website pleasing to social-shoppers, and to enhance your relationship marketing strategy:
- Make sure consumers are able to quickly find what they are looking for on your site while using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.
- Map your buying process. To create a map, ask yourself questions like:
- How do consumers find my product or service?
- What are some important considerations? Concerns?
- When I search for information on my site using a mobile device what is the experience? Can I find information quickly? If I want to download or use a feature does it load quickly? If you want to share information is it easy?
You may want to consider hiring a professional firm to help you understand the needs of your audience and the efficacy of your site.
What are some other questions you could ask?