Vote with Social Media

It used to be said that consumers vote with their feet when it came to choosing where to purchase. Now we are starting to realize that consumers vote with social media.

“The message around social networking is you need to understand the role that it plays in the purchase journey. It plays a very strong role in the research, referral and customer service aspects,” said Robert Scott, Price Waterhouse Cooper’s national consumer, industrial products and services leader.

How likely are consumers to vote with social media? 44 percent of those surveyed say that they use social media platforms to follow their favourite brands. Does your website allow your customers to interact with you through social media? The survey results show that 74 percent rank ease of using the retailers website among the top 5 reasons to do business with a store! This is an issue that ranks above price concerns.

While Canadians are reluctant to shop online, they have demonstrated that they are world leaders when it comes to internet usage. Surveys suggest that Canadians are not shopping online in the same numbers as other countries. Could that be that their browsing experience did not meet their expectations? When was the last time you reviewed your website design? Does it allow for social media plugins? If consumers are very likely to vote with social media then your website needs to have a polling booth!

Website redesigns can be very cost effective. Adding a social media component will address 1 of the 5 triggers that convert visitors into customers. Your website should meet their concerns with a website that:

  • is easy to use
  • displays products your business offers
  • has a clear and visible return policy
  • builds a sense of trust in the brand or retailer
  • makes it easy to find store location and hours
  • the content is up to date

Statistics Canada reported Monday that the value of online retail orders totaled $18.9-billion in 2012, up 24 per cent from 2010, the last time the national statistical agency conducted a survey of online shopping and Internet usage. The Globe and Mail offers some analysis on this report but leaves unanswered 2 questions.

Why does our reporting on this sector lag so far behind other countries and does that contribute to Canadian businesses missing out on this market? If Canadians are world leaders in the use of computers, shouldn’t the quality of websites in Canada offer a better shopping experience? The vote with social media has been counted and we are found wanting a better online market.

Terry Heenan

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