Online shoppers are presented with a plethora of options when it comes to the decision on where to purchase a product, and on where to seek information on the product. But when it comes to social shopping, quantity does not always prevail over quality, especially with Amazon and Ebay as a competitor. In this article, we’ll examine why more and more shoppers are taking to social shopping platforms to make purchasing decisions. We will also see how social shopping leverages the power of trendsetters to take the upper hand by closing the gap in the E-commerce circle rather than directly competing with large corporations.
The Power of Social
Human beings are inherently social and, in that innate tendency to connect with others, have the desire to seek affirmation and social reassurance. There’s no doubt that social aspects play a key factor in purchasing power on the web. There has been a 357% increase in sales from social traffic compared to last year (Shop Socially), and a total of 38,000,000 13 to 80 year olds in the US said that their purchasing decisions were influenced by social media (Knowledge Networks). That being said, it’s important to look at the main component propelling these statistics, the influencers.
Influencers, the Key Component in Social Shopping Purchases
When asked how shoppers formulate their opinions on products, 74% said they rely on social networks during the purchasing process (Sprout Social) and what’s more, 81% of US respondents indicated that their purchase decisions were directly influenced by friends’ social media posts (Forbes). So not only do they turn to social media, they look to people they trust, which is where social shopping closes the full circle in leveraging the power of these influencers to generate sales.
The particular appeal to these influencers is their authority within their particular niche. The influencers and the niches they are able to target are what give social shopping the upper hand against major corporations like Amazon and Ebay.These corporations mainly serve shoppers who know exactly what they want whereas more than 65% of shoppers who aren’t sure what they want turn to social media for gift ideas (Crowdtap) among the countless others in search of cool new products in their interest area or niche.
So Why a Niche Audience?
The way social shopping is fabricated encourages niche users to work together in forming a community (Readwrite) influenced by the collective activity of the group. There are often many different categories on social shopping networks, and niches are formed by influential leaders in each sector such as fashion, technology, books, music, home and garden, etc. The niches can even be filtered down into more specific subcategories, and social shopping networks often make deals with bloggers and trendsetters to be the voice of these communities, whom users with similar taste and needs can follow for advice and information on the products they’re interested in.
The influencers then leverage their power to generate big data around products that many nonsocial bigger corporations lack, which are the comments, reviews, shares and recommendations on products by trusted people in the community, people who have indicated they have or like a product, and more importantly, people who have indicated they want a product, which is one step closer to the purchase.
So what does this mean for stores and brands? A whole new level of personalization – the ability to connect with a highly targeted audience of users who are often overlooked by larger corporations who, in turn, target mass audiences. And on some social shopping networks, the stores have the possibility to send personalized offers and even to reward the influencers. And what does this mean for the user? A space they can turn to get all the information they need on the specific type of product they’re interested in, in just one visit.
Although Amazon seems to have mastered the E-commerce realm while it bets on efficiency, instant product comparisons, etc., the mass reviews by unknown customers or even the businesses themselves will not suffice for the shopper looking for a more personal, more curated experience. Soon, Amazon and companies alike will not be able to ignore terms like “social proof” and “curated shopping” (Clickz). Social Shopping networks like Wanelo, Svpply , Fancy, Fab , Moodyo and Open Sky have all created relevant, targeted audiences and communities that will inevitably pique the interests of the main players in E-commerce for their prominent influence on these niches and their purchasing power.