Social commerce spotlight: Platforms ramp up recommendation tools ahead of holiday rush
One of the big ecommerce themes to come out of 2012 is peer-to-peer product recommendations. We’ve consistently seen evidence that consumers rate their friends’ shopping suggestions as influential to their purchasing behaviour, and it’s increasingly apparent that platforms failing to offer a service to support this are missing out – big time.
So it’s no surprise that, ahead of the busiest shopping period of the year, SteelHouse’s holiday consumer survey packs even more punch for product reviews. Around 64% of shoppers will read standard product reviews, while 44% have actually purchased a product they’ve seen on their social networks. So, product reviews are fine, but consumers are increasingly interested in what their friends – people like them – have to say.
Google+ is (finally) integrating this notion into its shopping feature; search for an item within Google Shopping and it’ll sieve out relevant reviews from contacts – plus the search giant has made it really easy to leave your own reviews.
Meanwhile, startup Pickie has made sifting through product-related noise on social sites a breeze by creating a tablet magazine app that’s created with personal product recommendations from your social media feeds. Need a new coffee maker? Simply search the Flipboard-like app, or browse by category or brand, and Pickie will surface relevant conversations from your networks.
Of course, a shopper’s success in finding relevant reviews, or pinning down specific conversations on a particular product within their social networks, will depend entirely on their peer-base and its propensity to chat about their purchasing behaviour. Many may still find it more fruitful to simply ask the ether what they think, rather than search for dialogue which may not be there. But as our lives take an increasingly digital turn – and with people’s inclination to weigh in with their two cents – social networks will inevitably hold the key to retail recommendations one way or another.