New research shows that consumers are becoming more reliant on social media and peer influence when making online purchases.
Good customer service, shopper satisfaction and product quality is splashed on Facebook and Twitter, while bad experiences are broadcast vehemently to hundreds or more. Word of mouth has a profound effect on would-be consumers, often impacting their decisions on where to shop and what to buy.
Social media’s influence is crucial in a technological age when shops are rapidly transforming. Fluctuating economic conditions, as well as changing consumer habits are contributing to the growth of e-commerce. Just over 11 per cent of shops on the high street have been abandoned in favour of online shops.
To keep pace with changing consumer trends, chief executive officer and chairman of Powa Technologies, Dan Wagner, has implemented mobile and online retail platforms for many high street names. He believes online shopping is more popular in the UK than anywhere else in the world.
Increases in e-commerce coincide with more public feedback, published via multiple social media channels. More than a third of adults say they use Facebook and Twitter to vent about bad customer service experiences, seeing it as a way to exact revenge on a company that wronged them.
Because people are paying attention to what’s being said on social media sites, venting has become an effective way to damage a business’s reputation. Companies can negate damage through interaction with customers and attempting to remedy the situation in whatever way they see fit. The worst thing a company can do is fail to reply to to accusatory comments.
Adam Cooke, creator of Sirportly, said: “Not responding to customers effectively over social media platforms is reputation suicide. With the impact of word of mouth via social media getting stronger by the day, it’s getting more and more important to both avoid annoying customers in the first place and to be able to defend your brand when it’s being publicly bad-mouthed.”
The importance of social media and the impact it has on e-commerce is not to be underestimated. Today, business start up advice centres on the importance of the online experience. Successful companies should capitalise on the new channels as a way to promote themselves, their products, and their emphasis on providing excellent customer service.