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We are all a bunch of social buyers, says study

April 13, 2012

How often do you share your online purchases across social media? Turns out that people find recommendations on social sharing websites equivalent in value to Google searching when it comes to buying a product.

After all, it makes sense that word of mouth has more sway than a Google search ever could. If you are browsing eBay and find two items you like, and your friend says they already have one (along with a good speech about it), then you’re far more likely to buy the recommended product. Seems that the same thing takes place on Facebook and Twitter. People who read that their friends have recently bought a product helps them discover products which they might like themselves.

The ‘Social Impact Study‘ by Sociable Labs shows that 75% of shoppers that read about a purchase shared over social media have clicked on the product link, thereby taking them to the retailers web-page for that product. A staggering 53% of shoppers then go ahead and purchase that product. Shoppers really do see social sharing as one of the most helpful tools in finding the right product to buy.

After purchasing a product, 81% of customers are valuable social re-sharers themselves, this creates a highly viral cycle of buying and sharing.

It’s not just sharing across websites like Facebook and Twitter that aid online purchases either. Most shopping websites now have the familiar ‘Like’, ‘Tweet’, or ‘+1’ widgets on the page of every product. When users casually decide to click these and add a single point of recommendation, they all accumulate together and can heavily influence the decisions of buyers. Even when comparing two near-identical products, if one is covered with Facebook Likes and Google +1’s, that product becomes more attractive and desirable than the other.

So, one in four of online retail customers come from the social media side of the web, and not a search engine. The act of social network sharing is very influential!