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Social shopping on Facebook: An e-tail bet

2 min read

Social Media

I had to pause when I saw the headline of today’s top story in SmartBrief on Social Media: “Online Retailers Socialize Shopping.” Haven’t we always been shopping socially?

Whether it’s bringing Mom along to help buy a first mattress right out of college or leaning on friends who have kids when selecting a crib for a first child, we rely on the advice of trusted friends and family to help us find the best-quality products at the best prices.

What is new is where we are asking and receiving this counsel. Instead of bringing a friend to the store or calling someone on the phone for advice, many retail websites offer a customer reviews that make it easy to assess buyer satisfaction and pinpoint product flaws.

Recent e-marketer data bear out the fact that shoppers consider reviews to be a critical element to e-retailer — or e-tailer — websites. When customer reviews are absent, almost half of respondents abandon that site to shop elsewhere. An even more interesting trend, however, is that Facebook is usurping customer reviews as the key social element for e-tailers in their 2010 marketing plans. This also makes complete sense, when you think about it. Why rely on the opinions of strangers when you can tap into the wisdom of your own network?

The technology may have changed, but the age-old tradition of social shopping carries on. And retailers are smart to try and get in on the conversation where it’s already happening.

Do you think it’s appropriate for retailers to listen in and join the social-shopping conversation? Should customer reviews live on Facebook in a structured way, or will marketers be better off letting the conversation unfold organically?

Image credit, StockLite, via Shutterstock