E-Commerce is Getting More Social

Nov 18, 2008 9:32 PM  By

A pair of surveys released this month indicate that social media is becoming a must for online retailers.

According to the initial findings of research firm OTX for word-of-mouth marketer DEI Worldwide, taken by 500 people over the age of 13, 63% of consumers would like to share their opinions about a brand or product with a representative. Even more (67%) respondents are likely to pass along information from a brand representative to other people.

In addition, 57% of consumers are likely to take action based on the information from a brand representative, and 62% of consumers responded that information from a brand representative would be more valuable than advertisements or promotional materials.

A separate survey of 1,000 online consumers by Synovate for e-commerce developer Guidance says that social shopping techniques will play a role in how people find bargains. Nearly 30% of online shoppers say the best way to find discounts online is through link forwarding, peer comments or social sites.

Social actions are gaining ground as a source of shopper influence. In fact, the second most popular way to find out about bargains was from “friends forwarding a link to the product,” cited by 16.5% of survey respondents.

Nine percent said they learn about deals from another shopper’s comments on the retail site (through product reviews or other feedback mechanism). And 3% said they learn about deals “from friends via Twitter, Facebook or other social networking site.”

The youngest group surveyed, age 18-24, said they were most likely to find information about bargains from peers, vs. from the retailer: 39% chose one of the three “peer”-centric answers (links from friends, another shopper’s comments, or friends via social site), compared with 29% of the overall population.

Meanwhile, a Harris Interactive Poll of 2,382 adults conducted for online recommendations provider MyBuys shows that 62% of online adults have been influenced to purchase an item after learning it’s on sale. Fifty-four percent are more likely to pay attention to promotions about discounts given the state of the economy.

The survey says retailers who promote price cuts without personalizing the message may not see sales jump, and could even lose customers. Nearly half—48%—of respondents say they are annoyed by online promotions that are irrelevant to them, and 43% say they would consider not visiting a Website in the future if a promotion irritated them.