Mobile And Reviews To Be Big Factors In Shopping This Season?

Chris CrumeCommerce

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Social Media Link released some interesting findings based on a survey of 21,000 active social media users. It finds that this holiday season, peer-to-peer online reviews will influence what goes on shoppers' lists.

How big of a role do reviews play in driving your sales? Discuss.

83% of those polled said they discover new products on a monthly basis through social media before other sources while 67% said they always or often seek out family or close friends' recommendations online while researching a purchase. Such recommendations have impact for 65%.

Social Media Link CEO Susan Frech says, “Holiday shopping is trend-driven and last-minute. Consumers wait to learn what’s hot; then make their lists. This study suggests that they’re already discovering new products through the power of online reviews. That’s a game-changer."

According to the study, reviews on retailer websites, brand sites, and Facebook will impact customers' choices more than reviews on other channels. It found that consumers trust these channels for computers, electronics, personal care items, children's products, and apparel.

“User-generated content, those testimonials, videos and reviews, are what is swaying consumers more than ever this year. Brands that focus on getting their messages out through their consumers, will win all along the path to purchase,” says Frech.

The findings indicate that 18% find one online review to be enough to convince them to purchase as long as it is from a close friend, family member, or colleague. 23% say up to four from a variety of sources is enough to convince them.

Facebook reviews are holding more sway than in previous years, and video reviews are gaining credibility among consumers. 6% say they use YouTube to learn about new products and brands. 49% say they use YouTube to gather information before making a purchase. Two-thirds use video reviews at least some of the time to help make a purchase decision.

The source of the video matters though. Video reviews from YouTube reviewers and on Retail websites tied for influencing 64% while 50% have been influenced by a blogger videos.

“While video reviews on YouTube certainly hold sway for consumers, it’s important to note that video on Facebook is gaining. I predict that by next holiday season year, we’ll see the balance of video reviewing tipping to Facebook,” said Frech.

Interestingly, brand sponsored reviews are trusted, but the source is key.

Facebook Insights (FBIQ) recently released some data on growth in engagement and purchase behavior via mobile devices. Long story short, mobile shopping is on the rise.

Among the key findings:

- From January to May 2015, 3 in 10 online purchases took place on mobile and the frequency of mobile purchases increased 35%

- Over the course of the year, those purchasing on a mobile device steadily increased and in Q4, Facebook IQ predicts that the percentage of online purchasers who buy on mobile will grow 30%

- 73% of people say mobile devices are always with them

- 45% of all shopping journeys contain an action on mobile—everything from discovering to researching to buying (57% for Millennials)

- In the year ahead, 64% of omni-channel shoppers anticipate doing more research on their smartphones and 61% expect to be using their smartphone more while in physical stores

More on Facebook's findings here.

A new State of ecommerce benchmark report from Yotpo is making the rounds. According to that, social channels are only driving 6% of ecommerce traffic compared to Direct (40%), Search (34%), Referral (10%), Paid (5%), Email (3%) and Other (2%). It also shows, however, that social traffic is high quality with Instagram traffic leading for average time on site topping email, direct, and referral.

Do you expect social media, reviews, and/or mobile to play a significant role in your holiday season success? Share your thoughts here.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.