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Is the Impact of Social on Shopping More Hype or Reality?


If you read about the impact of social networks and deal sites on how people shop and what they buy when they are shopping, you would think that everyone is doing it on a regular basis, right?

A study conducted by Performics and ROIresearch gives the impression that while many people are using social networks and other online shopping options like deal and shopping sites to influence purchases, it may not be as prevalent as we might like it to be. Look at the results that examine what percentage of those surveyed use any of the mentioned techniques on a daily basis to influence their shopping activities.

Granted, there are a lot of people using social networks so upwards of 19% of a very large number is still a very large number. It’s just that the hype around social networks’ influence on purchasing decisions would have you believe that everyone is involved in this activity all the time. That’s just not the case …. yet.

Another interesting piece of data shows the influence of social networks at the point of sale. This is the retailer’s “make or break” moment so knowing that there could be 1 in 4 of your customers looking for last minute validation of their purchase through social networks it might be worth the time to at least be aware of the practice. The second piece of this slide shows that people are willing to wait for an answer. In this day and age, that is saying something.

So yes, social networks are influencing purchases on a daily basis. What is important to understand is that marketers need to keep the actual impact in proper perspective. Sure it seems like everyone is go-go-go all social all the time especially when it comes to commerce but the impact on sales is still only felt by a minority of customers.

What is your take on these numbers? Are they what you expected? Do you think they truly reflect what is going on in the marketplace?

Inquiring pilgrims want to know.

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  • http://www.orbitalalliance.com Simon Yohe

    Social Media may play a role in getting you to buy a particular product because it was already mentioned, but when you are actually looking to buy a product, social media has not yet quite found a way to get that information you need.

    There are a few obstacles I see in social media when it comes to purchases… one is that you have to request peoples feedback which can take time and those you truly want to hear back from are not responding when you need to. You also may not want to communicate out to your network an item you want to buy/purchase as well.

    Personally, I use reviews and ratings off Amazon as my main indicator when deciding between two products and have been extremely satisfied with the results so far. They have by far one of the best places to get full user experiences and opinions.

  • rakesh

    I completely agree with your take on online marketing and shopping. I think the trend varies from country to country. Since, it is on the web, it might be a bit too difficult to track all the things that are going on. In India, there are many sites that now offer online purchasing. This is a new trend in India which is fast catching up. One innovative thinking in this field has been done by http://www.mygrahak.com, a website from where one can purchase FMCG and grocery products. What is unique about the site is that they offer discounts on products and a delivery time of just 48 hours. Sites like this are making things easy for Indian shoppers.