Social shopping: Australian retail giants getting ready for action?

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With Xmas fast approaching and retailers struggling get their customers to spend (more), we looked at ways we could help our retail clients boost their sales through social media. 

The first obvious observation is that the strong adoption of social networking has added one more step to the purchase cycle: sharing!  This is how social shopping started.
But, what is social shopping exactly?
Wikipedia says that it is a subset of e-commerce that involves using online media that supports social interaction and user contributions, to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services.
To demonstrate how important social shopping is we gathered the following stats:

          40% YoY e commerce growth

          92% of Facebookers would “certainly” or “probably” recommend corporations and products they “like” on Facebook*

          In 2009, 13% of USA online ad impression inventory was generated by consumer shares*

A very significant shift in the way online shopping and social interfere is also demonstrated by the chart below:



It speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
 Facebook has become a primary source of inbound traffic for major e commerce sites

In this context we gave our clients two main directions around social shopping:

1-      Social merchandising


Tell your users that their friends have bought products from your store

Benefits for the brand

Social information in your store

Leverage your entire customer base

Relevancy (point of purchase)

Higher brand/ product recall

Benefits for the users

Increase trust & confidence

Accelerate purchase cycle

Brand/ product recall

Positive feeling & desire


Social plug ins: FB/Twitter/ Linked in

Web based email systems


Technical integration

Nature of purchases


2-      Purchase sharing


Encourage your buyers to share  their purchases with their network

Benefits for the brand


Visibility of your products in your buyers social feeds

Organic back traffic to your store

New customer acquisition

Leverages the core of peer to peer recommendation

Benefits for the users


Adds value

Bring utility to the community


Social plug ins: FB/Twitter/ Linked in


Bloggers outreach


Must give a reason to share

Active sharing


Those discussions generate a lot of interest and of course, lots of questions… the main areas of discussions tend to always be around:

          Retailers worry about the backlash that integrating social shopping could have when their customer service is not great or poor

          They are struggling to select which products, services or content would be the best platform to kick off with. What would give the user the best motivation to share?  Not always that obvious…

          Uncertainty around the impact such a change will have on the logistics of their business, overall corporation

From our perspective, the most exciting opportunity moving forward for our traditional retailers is the power of mobile within the marketing/ social mix. A mobile phone is the one and only link between advertising/e-socialising and making a purchase in store. We therefore see it as the only way of closing the loop between the multiple communication screens and influence sales at the moment o f truth!

There is a lot of interest in social shopping; marketers have been thinking and talking and it looks like some of the retail giants are getting ready for action in 2011…


Marie Sornin

* Forrester research 2009


One thought on “Social shopping: Australian retail giants getting ready for action?

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