For years now we have shared, reviewed and recommended products on social networks such as Yelp, epinions and Buzzillions. Research from public relations firm Weber Shandwick found that consumer reviews are much more influential on consumer electronic purchases than those from professional critics. This week, Amazon announced that shoppers can now add items to their Amazon shopping cart on Twitter, getting one step closer to a true “social” purchase. By simply responding to a tweet with a product link using the hashtag #AmazonCart, consumers can add the product to the Amazon shopping cart. This news is one more proof point that all aspects of the retail experience have moved social.
After reading the news story, I have to ask myself, “What does social shopping mean for the customer experience?” If the simple use of a hashtag to add items to a shopping cart can accelerate Twitter’s transactional functionality, it can also amplify consumers’ ability to find information about products they are interested in. Take the following hypothetical examples:
- Feedback from friends – A shopper places an item in his or her Amazon shopping cart on Twitter that a follower already owns and has tried. Good or bad, that follower will want to inform the shopper about experiences with the product, impacting the decision to buy.
- Crowdsourcing to a new level – When considering a purchase, consumers may hop on Twitter to see if there is anyone who has recently bought the product that they can reach out to for an opinion. Different from sites like Yelp or Travel Advisor, this customer can solicit reviews from individuals they trust.
- Group purchasing mentality – If you are evaluating between buying Brand A or Brand B and notice that many more people on your social networks have bought Brand B, there may be a group mentality that fuels interest in Brand B.
The above are simply examples of what could happen when social shopping takes off. I think each hypothetical only adds to the need for companies to be engaged on social media and responding to customers. Imagine if, as a retailer, you had visibility into the purchases your customer were about to make online. Designing your contact center to make sure every social interaction delivers on your customer promise will foster loyalty. Powerful workflow capabilities tuned into the needs of the contact center ensure that customers receive consistent, informed responses to inquiries posed in the social space.
Shopping-turned-social only amplifies the need for social customer service. Don’t get left out of the conversation.
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