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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Social network influence growing

Monday September 12 2011

IBM study more than half of shopping decisions affected by social reputation – even instore

IBM study more than half of shopping decisions affected by social reputation – even instore


A new IBM European study has found social media has an increasing influence on consumer purchasing decisions, even in the store.


The study into consumer shopping behaviour across retail channels, including mobile phones, which surveyed over 1,000 UK adults with access to the internet, also highlighted that shopping through via mobile smartphones will also drive cross-channel demands.


Consumers are using social networks in a sophisticated way, researching products, prices, promotions and other consumers’ views, to validate their decision making, according to the IBM study. This is then influencing sales across all procurement channels – not just online.


For example, 50% of respondents aged 16-64 with access to the internet used social networks to assist with shopping decisions and, of those that would be likely to follow a retailer on a social network, 35% stated they use social media platforms to read reviews or rank products and services. Additionally, 25% of these adults thought it was important to be able to use social networks to assist with buying decisions.


Increasing rate of retail response


David Hogg, commerce solutions regional leader at IBM, said: “Social media provides a new window through which retailers can deliver a more personal brand experience across all buying channels. By harnessing real-time customer analytics from social media, retailers can act upon what is being said, delivering a personalised marketing offer based on the customers’ shopping profile, preferences and decisions, helping retailers to maximise revenues.”


Other findings of the survey also highlighted consumers’ increasing desire to shop through the mobile phone. Half (51%) of online adults said that they have shopped using their mobile phone, with 67% of those who did deeming it important that they could not only capture, but also place an order, highlighting that this is a maturing market.


The survey also found that mobile phones are incremental in providing additional revenue opportunities through promotions and last minute purchases: 68% agreed that price comparison on the mobile is important or very important; 38% and 29% said it is important to receive discount coupons and special offers through the mobile phone, respectively; and 38% want to be able to review and change their shopping basket items at a later time, on their home computer.


“It is clear to see that the mobile phone is no longer just a viewing screen or digital catalogue - there is a growing acceptance of shopping through the mobile. As well connecting to these customers through their preferred channel, retailers also need to make sure they have the means of effectively managing their supplier and trading partner network to ensure they have the products at the right time and place to meet changing consumer demands.” concluded Hogg.