A new study from JupiterResearch indicates that social sites do little to influence sales but can help with branding. Specifically, social and community sites influence only about 12% of online shoppers to buy more than planned.
About 53% of online shoppers go directly to a retail website to buy while 3% go to blogs first. That means that if you want to use user generated content to sell your products, you had best find a way to incorporate it directly into your retail site.
There are two things about social sites that make them unattractive to shoppers–inefficiency and lack of fundamental information. Shoppers are simply unwilling to wade through lots of biased and incomplete data on social sites. However, 29% say that they use social sites to reaffirm decisions.