Results of the “Social Shopping Study”, conducted by PowerReviews in association with the e-tailing group, indicate that consumers who shop online are on a mission to get thorough information about products and find the best prices before they buy.
About half of the survey respondents spent 75 percent of their overall online shopping time researching products, compared to about one in five just a year ago. That’s a considerable increase.
When it comes to purchases such as computers and televisions, 71 percent of respondents say they spend a few days or more doing online research. Some respondents claim to spend “a few weeks” (18 percent) on research. Almost half of these online shoppers (44 percent) start with a search engine and look for top search results for the products that interest them. That’s a lot of time and effort to save a few dollars…
Amazon gets high scores from consumers as a place for product information, reviews, and price comparisons.
- Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents say they use reviews and ratings at Amazon as part of their research “all the time” or “very often.”
- In comparison, just 29 percent say they use Google Shopping to read product reviews, but that’s a good showing for Google’s relatively new service.
- Sixty-three percent think the reviews and recommendations found at Amazon are “extremely or very credible.”
- Of those who use their mobile phones for shopping, 36 percent look for competitive pricing on Amazon while they are in a physical store.
One of the more interesting findings is what consumers say about social media.
Facebook and Twitter are not highly regarded when it comes to shopping research.
- In fact, half (49 percent) of respondents says they “never” use social media to research products they want to purchase online.
- Only 13 percent say a company Facebook page has a significant impact on their buying behavior, while 59 percent of respondents say it is customer reviews of products that influence them, and 42 percent indicate it is customers asking and answering products about questions that influence them.
The survey respondents were pretty evenly split between male and female, with the predominant age group being 35 – 44 (31 percent), followed by 45 – 54 (26 percent) and 25 – 34 (24 percent). Forty-two percent of the respondents said they shopped online several times a month in the past year.
So what does this mean for your online sales channel approach?
- Online shoppers have discovered how to do research prior to purchase, they take it seriously and invest a lot of time and effort into it. If you don’t have sufficient information available for your products and services, you’re probably going to miss out on a lot of sales.
- Online retail shoppers seem to rely on Amazon for product reviews and to check prices. Which is important to know if you’re selling a product that is or could be sold on Amazon…
- I have been saying this all along… Facebook and Twitter are not a factor in (most) online purchasing decisions. It doesn’t mean it won’t change in the future, just that it’s not your lowest hanging fruit if you’re focused on sales. Sales is a four-step process. Knowing when to engage social media is beyond a free blog post. It’s what I share and teach my clients – sorry!