News Update :

Online Shopping Gets Social

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today’s eMarketer newsletter reminded me that I had intended to follow up some recent articles on social shopping. As so often happens, I found more than I expected. Start with the chart from eMarketer which compares the information sharing behavior of Gen X women (born 1960 to late 1970s) to those of Gen Y females (born late 1970s to late 1980s; see a discussion of cohorts on Wikipedia, also search the various generations). Whatever the exact “gen” definition you use, the older segment is more likely to share by telephone or email; the younger ones are more likely to share online. Not a huge surprise, so I went onto look at some of the material that had recently floated through my inbox.

Most of what I found we already know; retailers have established a presence on the “big 4,” Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, and Twitter. A recent post suggested that the effort is worthwhile, but it’s admittedly hard to measure results. What I was interested in, though, was what retailers should do to encourage social shopping or sharing, however you want to characterize it. I focused on an article by Heidi Cohen in ClickZ. She lists 7 ways to exploit the social phenomenon. I’ll list just 2 that I found especially compelling:

1. Make your message consistent across platforms. . .ensure that it's integrated with the rest of your marketing, both online and off. Consistency is key to having a believable and trusted brand!
2. Make attractive offers to social shoppers. They like them and pass them on!

I kept reading and found a comment by Keith Wiley of DecisionStep, a company I had not heard of. So I checked out his tool for social shopping, called ShopTogether. It looks like fun; more important, it looks like something women would do. I, for example, can visualize shopping with my daughter for presents for my grandsons using this tool. Check out their video. You can try the tool on Mattel’s ecommerce site.

Also think about how I found this social shopping tool. Someone from DecisionStep made a comment on the ClickZ article that led me to the site. The site had good content, and a blog post happened.

Food for thought for retailers; the rest of us can just go shopping!
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