CHICAGO, May 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new study, "SocialShop," released today by Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide, 42 percent of Americans are using social media to shop – this equates to nearly 95 million social shoppers in the U.S. – and that number continues to rise. In fact, when asked how often social media is used to shop today versus a year ago, almost 73 percent of people confirmed they are using it more.
SocialShop – a national quantitative and qualitative research study – looks at social media usage from the eyes of a shopper to understand the influence each respective platform has on a person's buying behavior.
From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Groupon, people of all ages are using social networking sites and other user-generated content platforms as shopping tools. In fact, SocialShop found 42 percent of social shoppers are using Facebook more than they were a year ago, while 55 percent of shoppers are utilizing daily deals more and 46 percent of shoppers have increased engagement on review sites and forums.
With rapid expansion of social channels and the frequent launch of new platforms, brands and marketers are trying to figure out how to successfully use social media to connect with shoppers. According to the research, success is not measured by visibility on all social media channels, but by leveraging the strengths of platforms that cater to your shoppers' needs.
"It's no secret that social media is top-of-mind among brands. What isn't widely known is how brands should use social media to serve the needs of shoppers," said Masha Sajdeh, SVP Strategy Director at Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide.
For brands, using social media in the wrong way can have a negative impact on relationships. Forty-four percent of social shoppers said they had stopped interacting with brands on Facebook due to lack of relevant or valuable posts.
"People assign a different purpose and expectation to each social media channel they use," Sajdeh said. "Once marketers understand how people use social to shop, they can hone their marketing strategies and cater to different shoppers' needs to drive engagement now and in the future."
According to Nick Jones, EVP, Head of Retail Marketing for Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide, this realization is similar to what advertisers experienced in the late 1960s when exploring the strength and depth of print and broadcast media.
"Fifty years ago marketers figured out that Broadcast media drove awareness and print media added depth of communication," Jones said. "Now we have all of these new social communication channels but no one has identified the optimal role of each. That's what this study and this set of tools solves."
Within SocialShop, Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide researchers identified six shopper archetypes reflecting the needs and habits of today's social shoppers:
"Savvy Passionista": The Social Trendsetter
The Savvy Passionista is a heavy social shopper using social media channels to broadcast the latest trends and stay connected with favorite brands. Savvy Passionistas are indulgent and use social channels to express feelings and stay relevant and "in-the-know." According to one Savvy Passionista: "I talked about the Versace @H&M event on Twitter weeks before it happened, because it was unique and made me look in-the-know." To reach Savvy Passionistas, brands should help shoppers discover, express and connect on emerging and established platforms – everything from Facebook to Pinterest to Twitter.
"Opportunistic Adventurer": The Daily Dealaholic
Opportunistic Adventurers are on a mission to score fun and unexpected deals. With impulsive social shopping tendencies, this shopper demands timely and relevant deals. In the words of an Opportunistic Adventurer: "Social platforms such as Groupon bring me to places that I wouldn't have tried without a deal. I share deals with friends because I know they'll be interested." To connect with Opportunistic Adventurers, brands should invest in tailored deals that are "too good to pass up." In addition, brands should promote through geo-location applications like shopkick, build visibility on daily deal sites such as Groupon and provide tailored recommendations on Amazon.
"Quality Devotee": The High Maintenance, High Standards Shopper
Quality Devotees use social media to shape purchasing decisions, validate choice and to feel empowered when making a purchase. No matter the time or research involved, Quality Devotees will find the best product available. Said one Quality Devotee, "I track postings, watch videos and always seek online advice from people using the products I want." To connect with Quality Devotees brands should aim to help shoppers build knowledge through in-depth reviews and expert opinions via blogs, forums, review sites and YouTube.
"Strategic Saver": The Black Belted Negotiator
Strategic Savers use social media to comparison shop and spend time deal digging only for their favorite brands. Said one passionate Strategic Saver: "I follow social conversations to get tips on how to cut corners and save a few bucks." To connect with Strategic Savers, brands should aim to validate choices by offering custom shopping tips and ways to save money by tapping into blogs, forums and review sites.
"Efficient Sprinter": The Few Dollars Shorter, Several Minutes Richer Shopper
Efficient Sprinters want to save time and use social media to select items that are considered most popular to simplify their shopping process. According to one Efficient Sprinter, "When I social shop, I usually take a quick look at a toy review and buy the one with the most stars. I don't care about price." To connect with Efficient Sprinters brands should simplify the buying process. In addition, brands should provide a curated list of top selling products on their social channels and retailer websites.
"Dollar Defaulter": The Dollar Sign Connoisseur
The Dollar Defaulter has just one social shopping goal: find the cheapest alternative. With utilitarian shopping needs, Dollar Defaulters choose only the lowest prices and do not feel loyal to specific brands. According to one Dollar Defaulter: "When using social media to shop I'm always checking out Amazon and retailer websites to find deals on all types of products." To connect with Dollar Defaulters, brands should broadcast special deals on retailer websites such as drugstore.com and provide the ability to share those deals with friends.
"Our new study illuminates what brands need to do to reach shoppers in their own social worlds," Jones said. "Understanding how and why people are using social media to shop is the first and most important step to designing a successful social media program."
To view the complete findings from the study, SocialShop, please visit: http://www.slideshare.net/LeoBurnettWorldwide/social-shop-research-overview
For more information about the six social shopper archetypes, please visit: http://www.slideshare.net/LeoBurnettWorldwide/social-infographic
Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide "SocialShop" Methodology
Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide conducted a nationwide quantitative and qualitative research study interviewing more than 1,600 social shoppers and 3,000 online shoppers. The study was completed in December 2011.
About Leo Burnett Company, Inc.
Leo Burnett Worldwide (www.leoburnett.com) is one of the world's largest agency networks and the parent company of Leo Burnett and its marketing services arm, Arc Worldwide. Leo Burnett, a HumanKind communications company, has a simple and singular approach: put a brand's purpose at the center of communications to truly connect with people. Leo Burnett, one of the most awarded creative communications companies in the world, creates "Acts, not just Ads," for some of the world's most valuable brands including The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg, McDonald's, Hallmark, P&G, Allstate and Nintendo.
SOURCE Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide