Consumers are looking for faster, easier methods to make a purchasing decision, and they usually turned to family, friends, and colleagues for recommendations.
But social media has changed that route.
The number of shoppers who rummage through yellow pages and offline directories to look for a review or advice is declining, whereas more and more consumers use their smartphones and tablets to press and swipe their way to the next purchasing decision.
All of the latest researches show an increasing number of consumers who use their social media networks to ask friends, followers, and online communities for experiences in regard to a product, service, or brand they are interested in.
About 38 million consumers in the US, ages 13 to 80 years old, admitted that social media influenced their purchasing decisions. They used social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as a guide to decide on their next purchases.
In general, 86 percent of US online retailers have their own Facebook business page while 70 percent of active online adults use social networks to shop online. The rapid growth of online shoppers who rely on social media allows more businesses to take advantage of this trend.
Social media has allowed consumers to receive trusted advice from friends on their next purchase. On Facebook, 75 percent on consumers asked for advice on their friends’ recent purchases. Confidence on friends’ purchasing decisions made 30 percent of social media shoppers have better responses to brand offers when posted by a friend. While 81 percent of shoppers said that social media platforms directly affect their purchasing decisions, only 78 percent of consumers are influenced by posts from vendors.
Online consumer reviews ad ratings usually are considerably more reliable than pitches from the manufacturer and retail sales associates. Consumer reviews are roughly 12 times more trusted than product descriptions from the manufacturer itself. In addition, 55 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase when a product has a high rating.
Even though social media has transformed online commerce, there still is room for improvement. Competitive pricing, speed of delivery, and the ability to purchase online frequently are quoted as the key factors that determine a purchasing decision.
Social media is a major sales driver but measuring how web activity has an impact on sales is not always accurate. A Forrester study in 2012 found that half of repeat clients and a third of new customers make contact with multiple touch points before completing a purchase. This means traditional marketing channels, such as email and visual advertising, may be underrated.
Social media is a shared platform for direct conversations and engagement with customers. Through social media monitoring tools, business industry observers believe brands can lessen the disadvantages by making negative comments into private conversations and maximize the advantages by providing consumers an easier way to be involved.
Even so, consumers are increasingly leaning on digital technology to shop for products and services, and most probably will often indicate how a retailer supports the change. The challenge for retailers is the speed and quality of adjustment, cost-effectiveness on new technology, and how to make the most of connections with the greatest asset: the consumer.
An infographic by MarketMeSuite reveals more of the latest statistics on how social media influences purchasing decisions, and it provides some tips on how to engage with consumers on social media.