[tweetmeme]Online retailers need to understand and embrace the ever-evolving importance of social tools from a shopping perspective. Of the various social media tools available, customer reviews are foundational element of social commerce strategy.
This is according to the social shopping study conducted by PowerReviews with the eTailing Group entitled “5 Social Shopping Trends Shaping the Future of Ecommerce”. The study found that there are five emerging trends on how online shoppers are using social medium to purchase online:
1. Control rests with the consumer. The study found that about 50% research products online before making a purchase, whether in store, on the Web or catalog. By doing their own research online, they become more confident about the purchase, as opposed to just talking to a salesperson in store.
According to respondents, online research is preferred for three reasons: its ability to save time (79 percent report saving somewhat to much more time doing their own online research), increase confidence (83 percent are somewhat to much more confident about making a purchase decision when doing their own research) and provide credible information (82 percent are somewhat or very satisfied with product information available online).
2. Research starts with search (about 57%) although a fifth go to the retailer’s website immediately.
3. Consumers expect social tools for their research experience, and the top two tools used are reviews (71%) and Q&A (57%). With regards to consumer reviews, the study found that about 80% of users read four or more reviews to give them sufficient confidence in the product.
4. Consumers seek a variety of voices when they research. Friends and like-minded consumers emerge as those with the biggest influence in purchasing decisions. They look at customer reviews as a way to corroborate other research they’ve done.
5. Of the various social media sites, Facebook is emerging as the primary platform for research and shopping.
To succeed in this increasingly social environment, the study recommends three strategies online retailers can adopt:
- Build the foundation for trust
- Make the content easy to find and consume
- Accelerate trust through the collective voice
You can request for a copy of the full study here