Gift Givers Influenced by Social Media

Discussion
Dec 10, 2009
George Anderson

By
George Anderson

The numbers are far from a majority, but new research from comScore
Inc. shows 28 percent of consumers have had their holiday season purchases
influenced by social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

"Social media
really appears to be emerging as an important marketing channel this holiday
season," said Gian Fulgoni, chairman and co-founder of comScore, in a press
release. "On the one hand, its emergence is being driven by increased consumer
adoption of these technologies and the exponential growth in digital word-of-mouth
that is occurring over this medium. On the other hand, having a social media
marketing strategy makes sense for retailers in this environment because it’s
cost-effective and shows an effort to get closer to one’s customers. I think
we are getting our first real glimpse at the impact social media will play
on commerce as we enter the next decade."

The types of social media communications
influencing purchases included consumer reviews (13 percent), expert reviews
(11 percent), a Facebook fan page consumers follow to special offers, status
updates on a friend’s Facebook page (six percent) and a tweet by a friend on
a product (three percent).

Retailers and brands are jumping on the social media
bandwagon to try and take advantage of its influence. J.C. Penney is among
those companies.

"Our customers are spending a lot of time connecting with
each other in these online communities, and we want to be there," Nick Bomersbach,
director of jcp.com, told Bloomberg News. "Oftentimes they’re talking
about brands and J.C. Penney, and we want to have an open avenue to have that
dialogue."

Discussion Questions: Where do
you see the greatest opportunities to influence consumers through social media?
Are there aspects of the social media experience where retailers and brand
marketers should be treading most carefully?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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7 Comments on "Gift Givers Influenced by Social Media"


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Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 5 months ago

Tweets from big retailers seem to have an effect on consumers. The amount of information available through social media is staggering and buying decisions are now made in front of a computer or on a smartphone. Hence, my advice that small merchants embrace social media as a viable marketing tool in their toolbox (see Tuesday’s blog post about social media here).

It’s big, it’s fast and to some extent, it works.

Max Goldberg
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

Retailers and marketers need to understand that social media is not “push” advertising. If they want to have an impact, they have to be available for a dialogue that the consumer finds meaningful and not a one-way sales pitch. That means providing consumers with useful information, answering consumer questions and inviting consumer comment. Some brands reach out to consumers for product ideas, marketing advice and product names. All of this should be done on a timely basis.

In the coming years, as augmented reality takes hold, consumer reviews will become more important than ever.

It’s a new world for retailers and manufacturers. Many brand and store marketers don’t understand how to live in it. They need to adapt. The rewards can be significant.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

This nascent channel–enthusiastically embraced by a younger consumers, but largely viewed cautiously by retailers–has the potential to both generate huge revenue and save loads of money on marketing. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the industry to respond.

Joel Warady
Guest
Joel Warady
11 years 5 months ago
Social media is not a channel, nor is it a thing, nor a fad. It is a communication platform and as a platform, it allows people to speak to one another, peer to peer, and share their likes and dislikes, turning everyone into a potential influencer, or a potential follower. Facebook has 100 million users in the US, and 375 million users worldwide. If you are a business, whether a brand owner or a retailer, and you have made a strategic decision not to communicate with people on the Facebook platform, you do have to ask yourself who convinced you that THAT is a good strategy? Twitter has 55 million active users, and while many of them are not tweeting on a regular basis, they are lurking, reading and following. If brands and retailers choose not to communicate using Twitter, they potentially pass up on dialoging with these people as well. Social media is not something that “younger” people do; it is a platform that exists, and is here to stay. And if companies are… Read more »
M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 5 months ago
I’m not sure how this report synchronizes with other reports that 90% of tweets are sent by 10% of Twitter users, but it does make one pause. Are consumer and expert reviews (assuming they were found on the internet) really social media? I thought they were e-commerce media. Does that mean that the internet is defined intrinsically as a social medium? I didn’t know that. Trying not to torture these “data” much more, if you do not define expert and personal reviews as social media, the resulting so-called purchase influences are significantly diminished. I call them “so-called” purchase influences because there is no indication of how their actual influences on purchases were measured or verified. As the latest iteration of word-of-mouth advertising (supposedly the most powerful type), electronic social media is taking a small place in the tapestry comprised of many WOM forms. Interaction with others at church is an excellent WOM social medium, as are the workplace and clubs and activities of any type. Are they measured? Probably not. And how are retailer and… Read more »
Rick Boretsky
Guest
Rick Boretsky
11 years 5 months ago

I agree with Joel’s comments. Social media is here to stay and all businesses including retailers are trying to figure out how to best integrate these tools into their business/marketing strategy. Social media is NOT a marketing tool, it is a communication/social tool. Who wouldn’t want to better communicate and socialize with their customers? It can be fun, engaging, and ‘viral’. Its about building communities, brand image and sharing information.

Paul R. Schottmiller
Guest
Paul R. Schottmiller
11 years 5 months ago

It’s fun to prognosticate about the role of SM in influencing consumer behavior in the future, and while there can be differences of opinion on how, how fast, and how much influence, today your customers are:

– talking about you so listen and learn
– complaining about you so help them and fix the problem so it is not repeated with others
– listening and willing to interact so talk with them, inspire them, reward them, etc.

Whether you want to be a leader or follower in this revolution, you should have a strategy today that includes at least these elements.

As to the future; SM is fertile ground for all sorts of future innovation in customer experience and the most exciting is yet to come.

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