Social Media Leads Holiday Shoppers To Bargains

    November 11, 2008

Social media will play a role this holiday season in how people find bargains, with nearly 30 percent of online shoppers saying the best way to find discounts is through sharing links, comments or social sites, according to a new survey from Guidance.

Email is popular with 45 percent of respondents who say it is the best way to learn about deals while 16 percent said they find out about discounts from a retailers Web site, and 10 percent cited banner ads.

Holiday Shoppers To Bargains

Other popular ways for people to find out about bargains was from friends forwarding a link to a product, cited by 16.5 percent of survey respondents. Nine percent said they learn about deals from another shopper’s comments on a retail site and 3 percent said they learn about deals from friends on Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites.

"Two years ago, social media wasn’t even considered a source of traffic by merchants. But today, nearly 30 percent of consumers cite some form of ‘social action’ as the best way to find out about deals or discounts online," said Jon Provisor, Guidance CTO and Owner.

"The top-down approach — which would include messages from retailers via email, ads or their websites — has been the status quo, and it’s what people are used to. But there’s a huge opportunity here for retailers to employ a social commerce strategy that gets peers talking to each other about the deals they’re finding."

In October, Forrester Research said that U.S. consumers are using social networks more and the activity is now considered mainstream. A Forrester survey found 75 percent of Internet users participate in some form of social media, up from 56 percent in 2007.

A recent Cone Business in Social Media study found that 85 percent of consumers who use social media believe a company should not only be present on social sites, but should also interact with its customers using social media.

"It’s revealing that 85 percent of social media users welcome interaction with companies within the social networks," said Provisor.

"That tells me that retailers are missing opportunities to connect with consumers. With only 3 percent of users in our survey saying that social sites are a good place to find out about deals, there’s plenty of room for growth, and that’s good news for retailers that need to boost sales this holiday season."