Report predicts growth of social shopping
New research on the future of retail has revealed that the rising tide of online shopping is radically altering the shape the way in which consumers shop.
The study by retail research specialist Conlumino on behalf of e-commerce partner Webloyalty, found that the rise of online and mobile shopping has led to more people using social media, price comparison websites and apps as part of the purchase process.
With 69% of consumers now members of social media websites, the research shows that 49% have interacted with a retailer through social media, bringing about the emergence of “social shoppers”.
Social networks are also increasingly being used by consumers to gather ideas and learn about new products and brands from their social connections. Over a third of consumers are now basing their purchasing decisions on customer reviews. The research suggests that by 2020, mobile shopping will play a part in a quarter of all purchases, either through price checking or direct purchases.
However, social commerce is still in its infancy with just 3.9% of consumers having purchased via social media channels. Social media’s direct and influenced sales currently account for just 6.5% of total online sales and 0.5% of all retail sales.
The study suggests that one of the reasons for the relatively low uptake is that some retailers have yet to make their offers fully transactional on social media platforms, with many instead relying on social channels to drive traffic to their own store websites. The research reveals that only 19% of consumers find retailers’ social media sites informative and useful, highlighting the need for retailers to invest in the rising expectations of shoppers.
Commenting on the findings, Guy Chiswick, managing director of Webloyalty UK & Ireland, said: “The emergence and adoption of new digital channels means that retailers need to incorporate social media and mobile technologies into their store and multi-channel environments to actively engage and interact with their customers.”
Neil Saunders of Conlumino added: “Social media will have a widening impact on the entire retail environment, with its role in the online shopping process growing in importance as the amount of data available on social media platforms enables experiences to be tailored specifically to the user’s interests and tastes.”