Consumers not interested in social shopping

Discussion
Mar 18, 2014

According to a survey from YouGov, almost four in 10 online consumers in the U.K. (39 percent) like to keep their social media and shopping activity separate. Around the same proportion (42 percent) believe that networks such as Facebook and Twitter are for "friends, not retail."

Surprisingly, the youngest online shoppers (16-24 year olds) are the keenest to separate retail and their social networking activity. In that age group, 61 percent indicated they like to keep their social networking and online shopping activity separate and 57 percent don’t like sites such as Twitter and Facebook to be linked with their purchasing history.

Having a social presence also works against trust, according to the report, "E-commerce: Trust in Online Transactions." Fifty-five percent said a store having a presence on a social networking site makes them trust the retailer less, while just over a quarter (27 percent) said it makes them trust it more. The figures were similar for Facebook users (55 percent trust less vs. 33 percent who trust more), and Twitter users (52 percent vs. 37 percent).

Only 10 percent used social networking sites to research products.

A recent survey from Kentico Software, a web content developer, likewise found an indifference to brands on social media. According to the survey, 68 percent of U.S. respondents either never or hardly ever pay attention to what is posted by the brands they like or follow on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. At the same time, only five percent reported un-liking or un-following these brands.

Will social media networks like Facebook and Twitter always be more about “friends, not retail”? What interactions are consumers open to engaging in with retailers and brands on social networks?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

17 Comments on "Consumers not interested in social shopping"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Gib Bassett
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

It’s good for CPG brands to have outposts on social media sites, same for retail, but the content and messaging in social media has got to be more about the consumer, lifestyle and content than masking a transactional interface to buy a product.

To that end, it’s almost wiser to work toward employing social content sharing buttons (and encouraging or incenting sharing) on your owned media (brand or retail website), and allow consumers to share product information and reviews with their social networks. In that way, the consumer herself is sharing the product/retailer content which “friends” will trust more than a business entity. Consumer-produced reviews and referrals are being described as the Ultimate Moments of Truth. The research shows how marketers and e-commerce pros need to understand their consumers and how they use digital and mobile channels to research and make purchase decisions.

Joel Rubinson
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

In terms of seeking out information in preparation for shopping, I get the same results…people don’t turn to social to help plan their purchase. However, I wonder if we are applying traditional thinking to a radically new opportunity. Some examples: 1) West Elm now uses photos taken by people via Instagram (and Pinterest?) as their online catalog. 2) Reviews are a form of social which have large impact. 3) A few years ago, a P&G promotion for free samples by providing your Costco club card number got tremendous retweet activity. 4) Social can provide signals that lead to highly effective paid advertising. The signs are there, but we need new ideas for leveraging social.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

There are unwritten rules of engagement and digital natives, just like any other community, have their neighborhood fences. Social media such as Facebook is their way to selectively communicate on their terms. When retailers and brands use this medium as another way to push in front of another potential buyer without being an invited guest, the backlash will occur.

Brands should first learn to offer a great product, great and easy service, and let the global social community spread the good news about them instead of using digital ploys to get to another set of eyeballs. Be innovative and creative, not invasive. Don’t crash the social party! It’s a waste of time and money. If their agencies can’t come up with some better advice, it’s time to find a new agency.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

People tend to be most comfortable on social channels when the conversation is non-threatening regarding brand advertising. For instance, people are typically far more open to “like” a brand and say what their preferences are so their friends can see that they like “cool” stuff. Also, things like recipes or helpful product tips are definitely within the comfort zone. However, shopping, advertising and marketing efforts push people into a less comfortable zone. The lines sometimes blur, however, when shopping becomes a personal statement and that statement becomes public, such as moving the interaction from the shopping site to the social site.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

I think the answer to the first question is a resounding “Yes,” which makes me wonder about who will pay for the party over time.

I think customers are willing to engage retailers and brands directly on the retailer and brands’ social media pages, but they don’t want those conversations flowing back to their own “social” pages.

Unfortunately — thanks to a ton of bad advice from the “experts” — most retailers and brands go about this whole social networking thing in precisely the wrong way, first by interfering with consumers’ social pages and then by not answering consumers’ issues directly or candidly when they are raised on their own “home pages.”

Brian Numainville
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Our Supermarket Experience Study results show that while 74% of supermarket shoppers are using social media (predominantly Facebook, but Twitter and Pinterest as well), but just 24% are friended/connected with their primary supermarket. But at the same time, 40% of social media users are willing to try a new recipe or meal, 34% purchase a new food item, 34% try a different restaurant, and 23% shop at a different store, all based on recommendations from their social network.

So there is room at the table for brands, stores, and individuals to use social media to build relationships that can result in positive outcomes for all.

Jason Goldberg
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

I think of “Social Commerce” as a much broader set of tactics than “Selling stuff on social networks.”

The YouGov survey confirms what we already know. People don’t want to go to social networks to shop. In the same way we don’t want a salesman approaching us in a bar, or someone giving us an Amway pitch at a holiday party. It feels “oily” and it erodes trust.

From a practical standpoint, it’s also a bad tactic given that we are just a digital sharecropper on the social networks. We don’t own the lease, we are renting an audience from a landlord (i.e., Facebook) that can send our customers to a competitor at any time.

All that aside, “Social Commerce” is a very effective tactic. Shoppers absolutely want social proof on e-commerce sites. Study after study confirm it (Nielsen Global Trust survey, Prof Itamar Simonson Research: Absolute Value, etc.).

E-Commerce sites that show reviews from shoppers’ friends on Facebook, popular pins from Pinterest, Instagram photos with influencers wearing apparel, etc. are consistently driving higher conversion rates.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

People go to Facebook and Twitter for conversation with friends. How would you like your face-to-face conversations interrupted with ads? Having an online conversation with ads is just as annoying. Some consumers like following brands on Facebook or Twitter to get news or special offers or to engage in contests or conversations. However, this is not an occasion for information search. If the brand is monitoring conversations about itself on Facebook and Twitter and can add to the conversation, engage in a discussion with consumers, or respond to questions and comments, the brand can be seen as responsive.

On the other hand, Instagram and Pinterest are used more to view pictures of products and of examples of people using or wearing products. This process is more amenable
to social shopping. In this environment, consumers like seeing and sharing pictures of products and of people using the products.

Not all social media is used for the same reason or in the same way. Therefore, brands need to participate differently depending upon the social media chosen.

Ed Dunn
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Yes, and this is the flaw of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn of desperately wanting me to connect with a fellow alumni from 15 years ago instead of connecting with people sharing my current interests.

Pinterest works best for retailers because it is not about friends but shared interests. The best social marketing solution for retailers is to find channels that promote interests, not friends.

Lee Kent
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

I will go on record as saying that social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter are about “sharing”, not retail. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for retail. I always say, “Retail needs to be where their customers are.” I don’t say, “Retail needs to ‘sell’ everywhere their customers are.”

Big difference! When retail can figure out how to jump into the conversation or hover around it without a sales pitch or promotion, consumers will begin to accept them as trusted sharers too.

Let’s look at all the selfies that get posted these days. Say one of your besties posts a selfie and you love the outfit, how might you find out the brand? Or better yet, a brand tells you that they would like to include your selfie in their catalog.

It’s time to think outside the box. and that’s my 2 cents.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Will “social” media remain more about, well, socializing rather than shopping?? uhmm….
I think the only unknown is why this question is even being asked.

Shep Hyken
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

First, social is here — and here to stay until it morphs into something else. People go online for reviews, support and more. Retailers are trying to find more and better ways to interact with customers via social channels and networks. These networks will vary based on customer demographics. Your customer base will “tell you” what channels they like and want to interact on.

Jesse Karp
Guest
Jesse Karp
5 years 1 month ago

I do think that there is the possibility of social shopping becoming somewhat mainstream. I think that, as of now, there are still gaps in the technology and ability to make this a truly interesting and engaging experience for consumers and their social networks. Once product recognition software becomes better and users can actually purchase any product that they see in a friend’s photo, this will begin to take the social shopping to a new level.

Tony Orlando
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Facebook is here to stay for retail, as it does create conversation and interest in your store, without pestering anyone. Our largest amount of hits in one week was due to a holiday tasting event, which was well received. There are people who lurk on your site, and some of them will stop in to check out something unique, which goes way back to the must have, signature item you created that no one else has.

Keep it friendly, and always respond to any questions or comments someone may have.

Warren Thayer
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

I find Facebook pages for businesses to be cheerleaders with little real benefit or credibility. People say when they post negative (even constructive) comments on these pages, they either never appear or are taken off. Like many others, I use Facebook for family and friends only. If I want to research a company, I go to the company website and surely not Facebook.

Linda Spott
Guest
Linda Spott
5 years 1 month ago

So you want all your friends to know you paid 50% more for apparel, rather than going to the discount store?

Gordon Arnold
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Doing the right thing wrong is what we are seeing in how, for the most part, retailers are failing in the use of social media. In fact, we all are aware of this dilemma and continue to openly seek a means for success.

Consider this; consumers love to search and find new things on the internet. They use the internet to find deals, places to shop, places to fantasize, new friends and new spouses and all kinds of things. One of the experiences that is most gratifying is the ability to see meet and interact with people from all over the world while they journey through the internet. Perhaps providing consumers with the opportunity to interact and communicate with one another while visiting an e-commerce store site would make it more fun and create a willingness and desire to visit the store. This would certainly make it more interesting and perhaps more profitable for the retailer’s site.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Generally speaking, does social media help or hurt the sales performance of retailers?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...