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According to the 2011 Social e-Commerce Study, a joint research project by Shop.org, comScore and Social Shopping Labs. 42% of online consumers have “followed” a retailer proactively through Facebook, Twitter or a retailer’s blog. The study also found that the average person follows about six retailers.

Majority of respondents (58%) said they follow companies to find deals. Nearly half (49%) say they want to keep up to date on products. More than one-third also follow retailers for information on contests and events (39%).

What is Social e-Commerce?

First we had usual retail, which is being replaced by online retail (a.k.a e-Commerce), and now we have Social e-Commerce. Simply put, Social e-Commerce is when you decide to buy a product only because any social media channel, and directly from that channel.

More than half of Facebook users (56%) say they have clicked through to a retailer’s website because of a Facebook post. While over 2/3 of Twitter users (67%) say a post has spurred them to click through to a website. Additionally, the appetite for buying directly through social networks appears strong. One-third of shoppers say they would be likely to make a purchase directly from Facebook (35%) or Twitter (32%).

Advantages of Social e-Commerce

Goes without saying that online retail has strong cost advantages over its brick-and-mortar counterparts. It is rapidly gaining ground and traction in many retail categories through better pricing, selection and, increasingly, service. In fact. it’s doing so well, that many traditional retail outlets have started to freeze their expansion plans, and to look for ways to minimize running costs. This downsizing, in turn, is help Online Retail.

Same applies for social e-commerce, where anyone with lots of devoted followers on any given social network can start selling to his / her fanbase. A direct link to sell a product advertised on Facebook or Twitter can attract loads of clicks and eventually sales.

Going back to our study. 42% of Twitter users access the site on their mobile phone at least once a day, while the same is true for 34 percent of Facebook users. In addition, about one-third (32%) of people view YouTube clips daily from their smartphones. Nearly half of consumers (47%) have accessed customer reviews in store using their mobile device with men (55%) more likely to access these reviews in store than women (39%).

The report, which evaluates shopping directly influenced by social media, polled 1787 adult online shoppers in April 2011.

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