The idea of “social shopping” isn’t new.  Anyone who’s ever entered a mall knows that not only is shopping often a social activity, for some it’s practically a team sport.

So it only natural that social media and shopping would overlap, and each exhibit some influence over the other. And, eventually, begin to merge.

We’ve already shown you statistics that say 22% of people surveyed have knowingly mentioned a brand on social media. Now eMarketer is reporting on a group of surveys that look even more closely at the social media/shopping connections.

Some interesting facts:

  • The number of buyers visiting brand pages on Facebook has risen 3 percentage points from last year.
  • A third of respondents “like” six or more brands.
  • 56-58% of people visit Facebook business pages in search of sales and promotions.
  • 20% of buyers find Facebook pages “influential” or “extremely influential” on their decisions.
  • 35% would be likely to make a purchase directly through Facebook.

While Facebook does offer selling through the site, their F-commerce gets some mixed reviews. PostClick cites a study where 73% of Facebook fans said they would not buy directly through Facebook, citing security and/or privacy fears. This Forbes piece, on the other hand, contends that:

 

As more and more people adopt social media, F-commerce will only grow and take on more retailers.

We’re inclined to agree.

And we like the example set by Kirkland’s (from the same Forbes post). The home decor company conducted their own survey, and found that their customers wanted to be engaged through social media. After launching an interactive game, with one cash prize and merchandise coupons for all participants, their “followers” shot from 43,000 to over 200,000.

Now, this is all without actually selling merchandise on their Facebook page. They are still in the engagement stage, working with their customers to make their Facebook site more fun and trustworthy at the same time.

(Of course we like their example. It backs up what we’ve been telling you all along. Engage your customers!)

Now, some companies are already selling successfully directly through Facebook. BestBuy is something of a trendsetter in the new F-commerce. Their Facebook page includes a “Shop + Share” element, where buyers are encouraged to ask their friends about merchandise before buying and share reviews on the page.

It seems like natural progression to us. Engage your customers. Build brand loyalty. Create interest and excitement. Facilitate the exchange of opinions. Then close the sale.  (That being the whole point…)

If it can all be accomplished on one venue, better yet. And F-commerce makes that possible.

But…

There’s always a “but“, isn’t there?

BUT even though we think F-commerce is a logical step from social media to social shopping, we realize that every action has consequences, intended or not. We do see one potential drawback to more people shopping more brands on more social media platforms…

Oof. Scary thought. Makes you want to all your own shopping “socially”… doesn’t it?  😉