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Social media has changed online shopping forever, says report

Karl Flinders

The way consumers shop online changed over the past year as a result of the abundance of social networking applications enabling people to help each other make decisions.

Web shoppers today are sharing information and their views on products and services through social networking before deciding what they buy.

According to a report from Marketers & Consumers, Digital & Connected (MC DC), social networking, conversing, sharing, tagging, content generation, and community participation all influence peoples buying decisions.

MC DC said today the online shopping process has three parts. First shoppers search for products, then they compare prices and finally they find out about them from others online.

"Nowadays, it is more DCC - discovery, comparison and conversation," said MC DC. "Consumers are well connected and have a much wider range of tools available in the pre-buying phases. The huge number of customer rating and review sites mean that e-commerce has become 'we-commerce', allowing consumers to evaluate brand alternatives before buying."

The research found that four out of 10 consumers search for information on brands and products via comparison, expert and user review sites.

Other findings from the research:

  • 90% of European internet users go online weekly to search for information with 60% of these doing it daily.
  • 59% of internet users search at least on a weekly basis for products or services they wish to buy.
  • Web users expect the top of the search list to contain the most relevant search results, with 41% giving up after checking the first 10 search results. 79% give up after scanning 20 search results.

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