Shoppers avoid talking to brands about their products and even dodge the websites of the retailers they will eventually buy from until their decision to purchase has been made, according to research commissioned by leading European social commerce company, Reevoo.
The company is also launching launched a new suite of products aimed at simplifying social commerce for brands and retailers.
Revoo’s latest study found shoppers do their pre-purchase research by tapping into a variety of social sources including friends and family, consumer reviews and Facebook friends.
When they do decide to buy, they spend an average of just six minutes on a retailer website after a purchase journey of 24 hours, Revoo found.
At all stages of the purchase journey, consumers’ faith in social sources of information is now higher than in any alternative: 70% rate friends’ recommendations as important, while 62% of people rate consumer reviews as important – significantly more than those who rate the media, or shop assistants recommendations as important at 35% and 28% respectively, said researchers.
The research also shows mobile and Facebook have become the tools of choice for a significant proportion of shoppers. The proportion using their smart phone to research and solicit information – even while physically standing in a bricks-and-mortar outlet – is now 38%, and a further 39% turn to their social network on Facebook to research and make purchase decisions.
Reevoo is launching a portfolio of social commerce products, developed in light of these research results, to help retailers and brands respond to the changing consumer journey.
According to the company, its new solutions have been designed to help retailers move beyond product reviews and ratings to address issues of brand, service, engagement, real-time response and post-sales support – to establish presence and trust, far more widely.
See here for a short video of Richard Anson, Reevoo CEO and founder, describing the key research findings. These are:
- Participation in the social commerce process is now the norm rather than the exception. Forty seven per cent of consumers report they have written a product review, more than those who haven’t
- Shoppers spend a long time deciding what to buy, with 90% spending at least 24 hours researching a major purchase. However only a fraction of this time – six minutes – is actually spent on retailer product pages, highlighting the need for retailers to engage and influence consumers across the web, offline and on mobile. This increases to 14 minutes for retailers using social content effectively
- It’s not just what people are buying, but from whom they’re buying that’s important to them. Seventy three per cent of shoppers will check consumer opinion before buying from an unknown or little-known retailer, with 58% specifically searching online for service reviews before they purchase
- People have no qualms about publicly using a mobile device to make checks, even in-store. Thirty eight per cent now use their mobiles to help them research and make purchases in some way, with a third using their mobile phones to research product information, read consumer reviews and check prices
- Thirty nine per cent of people turn to their social network on Facebook to research and make purchase decisions. While buying activities on the social network is still a niche pursuit, it is increasingly popular for the research and recommendation-type activities that typify the early stages of a purchase journey
- Advertising is no longer relevant. Only 24% of consumers believe their purchase behaviour is influenced by advertising
- Product reviews and ratings remain core to the buying process. Eighty seven per cent of shoppers sometimes or always read reviews before making a purchase
- Good reviews matter, but bad reviews matter more. Sixty nine per cent of consumers trust reviews more when they can see bad reviews as well as good. In fact, 38% are more likely to read the bad reviews than the good ones – but only 5% say they won’t buy a product with bad reviews
- Additional social information is welcome, with 86% of shoppers using smart recommendations including what others are buying, frequently bought with, or stock levels, to decide what to purchase. Calls-to-purchase based on what shoppers ultimately bought, urgency, stock levels are deemed useful by 64%, 58% and 45% of shoppers respectively
- In social commerce, independence is cherished. Consumers trust independent reviews more, at 56%, versus reviews collected by brands or retailers themselves, at 19%
The purchasing behaviour identified in the survey results requires retailers and brands to re-evaluate their social commerce strategies in order to establish consumer trust at key decision points in that journey, said Revoo. Customers will only engage with a retailer who has managed to establish trust earlier in the purchasing journey.
Richard Anson, Reevoo’s CEO and founder, said: “The raw statistics tell some of the story; the rest of our conclusions are drawn from discussions with, and the experiences of, many of our 120 partners. Taken together, we know how the journey has evolved, where the decision points are, and how those decisions are made. What is clear is that no longer can any retailer control the purchase journey – but all retailers are in a position to influence it.”