With consumers continuing to spend briskly online, and social websites aggregating ever-larger numbers of participants, the twain – online shopping and social networking – may finally be meeting, according to a nationwide survey from Guidance and Synovate.
In the new survey, more than 60% of respondents report being drawn to online retailers that employ Web 2.0 tools and techniques.
The Guidance/Synovate eNation study of some 1,000 online consumers, conducted in March, asked: “When thinking about shopping online, what is most likely to make you return to a given shopping website?”
Among the findings:
- 35% of respondents say they’re most likely to return to a shopping website if it makes recommendations on products or services for sale.
- 26% say they want “a unique experience each time” they shop.
- 18% say they’re more likely to return “if the site solicits their feedback” on its products and services.
- 16% say “a welcome when they arrive” at the site is the factor most likely to make them return
- 6% say? they’re most likely to return “if the site makes them feel part of a community” with other shoppers/site visitors.
Drilling Down: Social Shopping Online
Other key findings:
- Fully 41% of those age 18-24, the prime demographic for the social web, say they’re most likely to return to a site that makes recommendations. Only 29% of those 55-64 say so.
- Women are far more likely to be influenced by a welcome greeting – with 20% saying it’s the feature most likely to get them to return, compared with 12% of men.
- The older you are, the more you want to give feedback: The upper three age groups were more likely than the bottom three to say that a site that solicits their feedback is most likely to make them return.
- A few groups went against the overall trend by not selecting “recommendations” as their No. 1 choice: non-whites (they chose both “unique experience” and “feedback” ahead of recommendations), those with post-grad education (“unique experience” was slightly higher), and those with incomes under $25K (first choice was the “welcome”).
- There’s a wide gap between the lowest-income bracket and all others:
- Only 26% of those who earn less than $25,000 per year chose “recommendations,” 10 percentage points below all other income categories.
- Respondents in the lowest income bracket were far more likely to prefer a “welcome” – 27% said it was the feature most likely to make them return, at least 13 percentage points higher than the other income categories (14% of those earning $25K-$50K and those earning $75K+, and 12% of those earning $50K-$75K agreed).?
“The economy is fragile and the competition for the consumer dollar is fierce, but as these findings make abundantly clear, online commerce is now a two-way street – and retailers need to embrace that reality, ” said Jason Meugniot, Guidance president and CEO.
“Online consumers and merchants are in dialogue as never before, and consumers are counting on each other for insights in making purchase decisions. Recommendations have become the new currency of online commerce, along with their corollary, the opportunity to give feedback to the e-Commerce site.”