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Social impacting online


F-commerce Beau Coops social mediaWhether or not you’ve jumped on the social media bandwagon yet, shoppers definitely have.

Don’t believe it? The best brands and retailers out there sure do, and they’re capitalising on social to get a piece of that shopper pie.

In order to better understand and react to consumer’s activity online, social media is a key component begging to be studied.

According to a new series of reports from Mintel, there are the five mains ways that social media is impacting on online behaviour.

1. Peer power for splurges

Social media has opened the door for shoppers to get more and more input on their purchases before they make them, but not every product is equal.

Shoppers are most likely to gather purchase opinions from friends and family on products that are more high value or considered as infrequent purchases. (In other words, splurge items.)

For more affordable everyday products, social online chatter revolves more around shoppers’ post-purchase opinions and experiences.

2. Innovation is influential

The key to capturing shoppers’ attention on social? Don’t just be creative, be innovative.

The main takeaway from Mintel’s series is that brands that are willing to take risks, as well as stand apart from the crowd, are really reaping the benefits.

One prime example is Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor”, which included images and infographics on the campaign’s most submitted flavours and curated regional preferences.

Another good example is Domino’s commitment to full transparency in all of their marketing and ad campaigns.

3. Characters lead to conversation

Big brands’ usage of (often funny) fictional characters or spokespeople are key to driving shopper discussion online and on major social platforms.

According to Mintel, the use of friendly characters can make a brand more approachable and easy to discuss, especially if it’s for a more embarrassing consumer issue.

For example, the Mr Mucus character for Mucinex, and Flo for Progressive car insurance, both make their respective product more fun or easy to discuss.

4. Online activity is having more impact

This finding isn’t so hard to believe: shoppers’ online behaviours are having increasingly impact on overall consumer behaviour.

Just look at some of the biggest brands on major social platforms and their ease of interaction.

Some of the best examples are in the health and beauty categories, according Gabi Lieberman, social media research analyst at Mintel.

”With rising broadband penetration and smartphone ownership, would be consumers are increasingly turning to information online to guide purchase decisions and opinions,” she says.

5. Murmurs on mobile

When it comes to what smartphones social media users and online shoppers are using, the iPhone and Android battle is still raging.

“These are the two brands that people are most likely to search the internet for reviews on as they seek to make up their own mind about taking the plunge or switching to the other side,” says Lieberman.

Mintel found the iPhone is currently winning the race when it comes to online discussion.

The iPhone boasts 8.7 million online mentions between August and December 2012, while the Android only had 4.7 million.

This story was originally published in POPAI’s e-Zine. You can read the original article here.

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