Social commerce moves into prime time this holiday season, so shoppers should use it to help them avoid the rush. For the first time, shoppers’ friends are involved in buying decisions as technology works to replicate the interaction of people close to the buyer in a physical retail environment. Social shopping offers several ways consumers can buy the things they need without facing the end-of-year crowds at the mall.
Social deal sites like GroupOn offer special deals and discounts if shoppers can assemble enough buyers. People who want to enjoy a deal will influence their friends to buy it too.
Many stores now have interactive shopping lists that customers can use for sharing and collaboration. These communities help drive the purchasing decisions of friends as friends and fellow shoppers suggest products and discuss prices and deals. Although stores often run their own communities, so-called recommendation engines like ShopSocially provide a more global reach.
E-commerce sites equipped with software like QuorusDiscuss and DecisionStep’s Shop Together make it possible for one person to lead a shopping group in real time where participants can discuss their buying ideas with each other and with the retailer.
Help for Men
An old stereotype that suggests men never know what to buy for a gift could be true. A study published by market research firm Performics revealed that men use social shopping more than women. As more men find out about social shopping, they rely on the recommendations of other shoppers, friends and family members. Men are more willing to use their phone inside a store to check prices at other stores and they are more likely to visit and “Like” a brand’s social network page.
Suddenly, shopping is fun, fast and creative. Those with enough of a budget can beat the rush by shopping early. The gender gap in social networking will likely influence how businesses develop their marketing strategies. Men are more likely than women to use every social networking site except Facebook, where men and women have parity.
In the past, women controlled 80% of household spending. Social shopping is changing that. Statistics show that men are taking over more spending decisions, especially in the areas of home improvement, investments, car care, clothing and electronics. This trend could partially result from the fact that online shopping suits men better. Still, women are not left out of social shopping by any means.
While men are looking for product reviews and recommendations online, women use social shopping to find coupons and promotions. Although they shop online too, they seem more comfortable in traditional retail settings.
Social shopping means users can leverage the opinions and suggestions of others to quickly decide what to buy and where to buy it. They can get great deals that help them get their holiday shopping done before the rush begins.