The holidays are just around the corner and no doubt you’ll be doing a lot of shopping. If the idea of going into a department store makes your skin crawl, then you are probably turning to the Internet to avoid those snarky sales clerks long lines and virtually non-existent parking spaces.
Have you noticed all the great features that retail sites now have to help you with your shopping experience? Amazon started it a few years back when they introduced customer ratings. This helped you decide which particular digital camera to buy based on comments from real people and not just professional critics. Best Buy recently one upped Amazon by enabling you to ask your friends what they think of your potential TV purchase if you go to their Facebook page.
Meanwhile if you shop on Hot Topic’s website, you can tweet to your friends how you want to look like someone from Twilight this Christmas. Go to a site like Kaboodle.com and you can entrench yourself in a whole social shopping experience where you can meet people just like you who are looking to make purchases and you can do comparison shopping and create wish lists. Trust us, holiday shopping has gotten a lot easier thanks to social shopping features that most retailers are utilizing this year.
Retailers got bit by the Social Media bug and bit hard. With this new found wild west of marketing opportunities in front of them, retailers big and small are gearing up for a very social season; which includes brand and product Facebook / Twitter sites, populating them with shipping offers and discount codes to developing online promotions and even scavenger hunts that engage as well as connect us to brands as consumers decide on their online expenditures.
The past few years alone has brought the modern-day shopper light years beyond the weekly circular and television ads. Even banner ads seem so yesterday when online communities such as I Like totally Love It and the aforementioned Kaboodle present and encourage a philosophy of how much more fun it is shopping with friends.
A spate of recent articles reflect the increasing popularity of the social shopping trend; a piece by Reuter’s, Nicole Maestri talks directly about companies keeping up with consumers thirst for social media, while AdWeek’s Brian Morrissey reported that the secret to brand social popularity is discounts. All of this ties nicely into a recent statistic that comes from the Brand Experience Study stating that 97% of people’s digital experience had an influence on whether or not they purchased that particular product or brand. That’s pretty strong stuff.
Facebook and Twitter have become the social media outlets of choice for retailers that are trying to generate additional buzz around their product offerings this season according to a new Shop.org report. Brands that have jumped into social media with both feet from early on like Best Buy with its Twelpforce and Target with its Daily Deal are building a loyal community of followers and participants. Retailers that utilize social media to further brand themselves will only grow as they welcome more consumer interaction in the way products are sold, purchased and marketed.
From free shipping and discount codes to a forum for discussing new products and accessing real-people reviews, consumers have a remarkably interactive connection to how to research and purchase, unimaginable just a few short years ago.
Shopping has not only gone social, it just got a little more exciting!