One in four consumers are using social media to get specific insight on product options, and female shoppers are 60 percent more likely than men to make a purchase via a social media platform, according to SUMO Heavy's 2016 Social Commerce Survey.
Those scenarios mean retailers must be as socially savvy to capture greater consumer attention and drive sales.
"Consumers are entering the sales funnel through social media because that's where they’re spending increasing amounts of time," Bart Mroz, SUMO Heavy CEO and co-founder, told Retail Customer Experience in an email interview.
"To be specific, 72 percent of consumers are on social media each day, according to the survey, so it's reasonable to assume that it feels natural to them to initiate a purchase in that familiar environment. Brands understand this and are simply targeting them there, right where they're already congregated."
With regard to the female social commerce adoption, Mroz suspects it may be tied to how women have overwhelmingly embraced other social media tools.
"One trend I would point out is that highly visual social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, which naturally offer a more enticing e-commerce experience, are used more among women than by men. For example, in the case of Pinterest, it's used by 42 percent of women versus 14 percent of men, according to our survey," he said.
The survey also reveals chatbots are getting greater consumer interest and that 55 percent of consumers who've tapped the technology would do it again.
Mroz anticipates chatbot use to increase as concerns about security and privacy are eliminated. The study notes 77 percent of those polled cited security and 66 percent cited privacy as top reasons for being hesitant about emerging social communication options.
"In addition, chatbots and the artificial intelligence upon which they're built are still nascent technologies, and they're still not perfect," Mroz noted.
"Sometimes users have trouble getting the service they need from a chatbot; if their first experience is poor, they might not give it a second chance. Finally, today's chatbots lack personality and aren't particularly memorable or enjoyable. But as the scripts and natural language processing technology improve, we'll hopefully see chatbots that are enjoyable and inviting."
/ Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.