95 Million Americans Use Social Media to Shop
Here’s some terrific news for marketers looking for ways to use social media networks to improve the customer experience:
New research reveals that more and more people are shopping via social media sites, and it’s a trend showing no signs of stopping. The key, of course, is discerning which sites or tools will enable you to most effectively connect with your target audience.
The study, recently released by Leo Burnett’s marketing division Arc Worldwide, not only contained findings to send any self-respecting online marketing pro’s heart racing, but also boiled down the demographics into six “shopper archetypes,” providing a snapshot of the preferences and requirements each demonstrate when they do their “social shopping.”
First, let’s take a look at the study findings:
- Nearly 95 million Americans currently shop via one or more forms of social media.
- More than 70 percent of the 4,000 people surveyed in this study stated they use social media to shop more now than they ever did.
- Of these, 42 percent said they use Facebook for shopping more than they did a year ago, 46 percent indicated they participate more on review forums, and more than half have increased the frequency with which they check out daily deals on sites such as Groupon.
In order to make this information even more useful to marketers, the researchers felt it was important to consider which social media platforms attracted certain personality types.
As Nick Jones, Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide’s head of retail marketing explained, “Fifty years ago marketers figured out that broadcast media drove awareness and print media added depth of communication. Now we have all of these new social communication channels but no one has identified the optimal role of each. That’s what this study and this set of tools solves.”
So what are the six archetypes, and what characterizes their social shopping behavior? Here’s the list:
- The “Savvy Passionista.”Considered to be the social shopping trend setter, these consumers love to stay connected with their favorite brands on Facebook and Twitter. What’s more, they’ll share their brand love via these sites. Want to connect with Savvy Passionistas? Make sure you’re visible both on established social media sites and get an early jump on emerging platforms.
- The “Opportunistic Adventurer.” These shoppers are the online version of brick and mortar bargain hunters. Their mission (which they gleefully accept) is to score great deals on things they already enjoy. You’ll find them at sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and DailyDeals. Even eBay has stepped up its appeal to bargain hunters.
- The “Quality Devotee.” On the other end of the shopping spectrum from the sale stalkers are the high standards consumers who fall into this category. These shoppers spare no amount of research in order to get the very best product in its class, and they do so by reading blogs, visiting product review sites and watching YouTube videos.
- The “Strategic Saver.” These shoppers combine savings savvy with brand loyalty. They follow social media conversations to get the best prices on the things they love. You can get their attention by mentions at Amazon.com, offering special deals, and establishing a presence on blogs, forums and YouTube.
- The “Efficient Sprinter.” Time is of the essence for these social shoppers. They look for five-star purchasing experiences, so for them, ease of purchase trumps price. As a result, Efficient Sprinters also check out Amazon and other sites that rate shopping experiences. Attract this kind of customer by using social media networks to publicize your brand’s top ratings.
- 6. The “Dollar Defaulter.” For consumers in this category, the lowest price or the very least expensive option gets the sale. Brand loyalty goes out the window when these shoppers spot a better deal. Think virtual Wal-Mart. Lure these shoppers via social media with words such as “lowest price guaranteed,” a phrase which is music to their ears.
If you want to attract social shoppers, identify your target audience, plot a strategy, and be sure you’re able to measure your success along the way. Once you start charting your progress, you’ll be able to see what’s working –and what isn’t –and then, you can finetune your approach accordingly.
“(This) study illuminates what brands need to do to reach shoppers in their own social worlds,” Jones concluded. “Understanding how and why people are using social media to shop is the first and most important step to designing a successful social media program.”