Let’s take a look at the influence of social networks on purchasing decisions during the very important Christmas period.

Following up on our previous article entitled “E-business: 5 useful hints for using Twitter correctly during the Christmas season”, we have decided to look at the impact of social networks, and more particularly, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, during the Christmas shopping period. We will take the opportunity to give you some advice to ensure the success of your communication during this period, which is so important for any brand.
We have searched the Internet and found many articles and documents, and have extracted the best for you.

During our research, we were able to determine three key moments of the buying cycle, when the social networks have the most influence: the search for ideas, the search for the point of sale, and the generation of customer loyalty after the purchase.

  • The search for ideas

Whether the future purchasers are adepts of online shopping or not, 80% of them go onto the internet to find a good deal or the perfect gift a week before making their Christmas purchases.

On the internet, the preference goes first to search engines, followed by e-commerce sites, brand websites, and finally, social networks. For the latter, there are two distinct behaviour patterns: contacts with friends and contacts with brands. For the same objective: recommendation / inspiration.
As the number one social network, potential buyers obviously turn first towards Facebook (62%), followed by Pinterest (12%), Twitter (11%), and Instagram (9%).

Social Media Shopping Xmas
Conversation

If 74% of the purchasers consult the social profiles of their circle of friends, 63% of them directly consult the brands on the social networks in order to receive the advice and special offers that will influence their purchasing decisions.

Social Media Shopping Xmas
This latter figure shows the importance of the conversation that the brand must maintain or create with the prospective customer. For 55% of the interviewees, the decision to purchase was the result of a message on the Facebook page or Twitter account, and for 32% it is after being contacted by the brand on the social networks.

Don’t neglect the link that you can create with your fans / followers. Take the time to respond to them as well as to listen to them.
Among the 55% quoted above, 76% reported having made a purchase following the reply received from the brand!
And among the 32% also quoted above, 45% bought a product of the brand which had contacted them!

Contents

The power of images on social networks has been proven. Visuals have a real influence on purchasing decisions, and it is for this reason that Instagram and Pinterest find themselves among the networks that are the most consulted during the Christmas shopping period!

Social Media Shopping Xmas
In a graphic presentation dedicated to the activity of brands on Pinterest, we saw that the exclusively visual character of the network had highly positive repercussions on the performance of brands.

Social Media Shopping Xmas
On Pinterest, brands can organise their profiles, for example by highlighting a table/board dedicated to sales promotions, as for Sephora:

Social Media Shopping Xmas
Or the Maison du Monde brand, which, more subtly, puts the tables dedicated to Christmas season products in the first position:

Social Media Shopping Xmas
Concerning Instagram, it suffices to know that the network registers a commitment rate 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 times higher than Twitter to know that it too can be a precious ally during the Christmas period.

Social Media Shopping Xmas

  • On the point of sale / e-shop

The social networks accompany the future buyers during the purchasing process. Don’t hesitate to clearly highlight your special offers, new products and top sales, to facilitate browsing by your prospective buyers, as we have seen with Pinterest and Instagram. And don’t forget to follow the conversations about your brands and products to gain credit with your prospective buyers!

But this use is not limited to online purchasing. It also extends to in-store purchasing. In fact, 34% of tablet owners and 56% of smartphone owners are prepared to use their devices directly in the store.

The impact of social networks does not stop when the mobile device is switched off, but certainly continues at your physical points of sale. It is therefore important not to neglect them in order to bring the prospects into your stores.

Sales promotion

Although 80% of buyers want to make purchases on the internet, you should in no case neglect your in-store communication! On the contrary, take advantage of social networks to propose “in-store only” offers to stimulate traffic at your physical points of sale.

SOCA, the British clothing brand, has understood this very well, and does not hesitate to offer its community both web promotions and physical promotions, as in this example on Instagram:

Social Media Shopping Xmas Social Media Shopping Xmas
Events

Bring your points of sale to life through social networks!
Organize events to announce the start of the Christmas shopping period for your brand. On your website/e-shop or in-store, stimulate traffic by featuring competitions related to social networks.

And as in the famous Harrod’s department store, it is interesting to put the social networks back into the shop. During a whole month, the English store organised a competition which encouraged customers to wander around the aisles to try to find Peter Pumpernickel, the store’s furry mouse mascot.

Social Media Shopping Xmas
Product Display

If you recreate the universe of your brand on the social networks, why not do the opposite by recreating the networks in the store?

As at Nordstrom, which had the brilliant idea of decking its products with Pinterest logos, with nominations for “The most pinned products”. It was a highly successful operation for the brand.

Social Media Shopping Xmas
To find out more, don’t hesitate to read the Pinterest case study about the Nordstrom brand.

  • After the sale

Recommendation

As we already mentioned in our article dedicated to Twitter, but would like to mention once again, don’t hesitate to share the positive conversations that you see on the web concerning your brand!

Social Media Shopping Xmas
The best publicity that your brand can get is the recommendation by other buyers on the social networks. In addition to thanking the happy purchaser of your product (having first taken the time to ask them for their agreement to publish the message), you create content for the “Search for ideas” phase for prospective customers. The highlighted product will benefit from the “E- Word-Of-Mouth Effect”.

After-sales Service

Some gifts are appreciated, others not, some arrive, others don’t… The critical holiday season for the brands does not stop at the time of purchase. Just as for the search for ideas, the conversations that show off your after-sales service to its best advantage will also be relayed on the social networks. A further guarantee of quality for your brand!

Social Media Shopping Xmas Social Media Shopping Xmas
You will no longer hesitate to rely on social networks to ensure this important and critical Christmas shopping period!

And when it comes to publishing your exclusive content and responding to the conversations of your users, remember Over-Graph!

Happy Communicating!

Article published by Maïté in SocialMedia

the 8 December 2014