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Shopping:Transactional or Social?

The essence of every shopping transaction is social. Just consider what, where, when and why we decide to make a purchase online as well as off. Every decision is driven by relational factors whether we want to believe it or not.

A recent report from FFP Global states that: “online shopping is moving from a transaction mentality to one that embodies discovery, entertainment and social bonding experience.”

The report goes on to list five key e-commerce trends for 2010:

  1. Smarter Mobility: Smartphones have continued to grow due to their wider screens and applications. Mobile phone and handheld devices will see more applications to help drive ecommerce sales.
  2. Fulfillment Rules: Retailers will begin to consider “regional fulfillment centers” due to rising fuel costs and the demand for quicker delivery times.
  3. Customer Service: Consumers will begin utilizing an ever increasing number of communication channels: i.e.: texting, accessing information, free expression, immediate feedback, etc. All of these pose a challenge that e-retailers must take seriously.
  4. Relevancy is Virally Important: E-retailers are starting to become more than suppliers of goods and services and must proactively develop a personality that market segments can accept. They must listen; actively engage in conversations with their current and potential customers and more.
  5. Business Intelligence meets Business Process: In 2010, businesses will need to commit to the information in their data banks to create marketing and sales business processes to help provide them a competitive advantage.

According to a recent Razorfish report, “65% of consumers report having had a digital experience that either positively or negatively changed their opinion about a brand.” Additionally, “97% of that group said that their digital experience influenced their decision whether or not to purchase a product or service.”

“Consumers are evolving quickly. Social Commerce is demanding that brands invite their customers to the “dinner table” and engage, listening, learning, and navigating new ways to facilitate need. Attention to detail in service and fulfillment remain cornerstone attributes for a positive “buying” experience. Give your best customers more benefits not less.”

Is Money Social?

People work long hours to earn a living. A large percent of what we earn goes to consumable products and services that sustain our lives and quality of life. Earnings are personal and enable us to sustain and enrich our lives by how and what we spend our earnings on. Part of the enrichment process comes from relational experiences that happen from transactions.

Consider what the relational experiences are from shopping:

  1. Brands propagate messages aimed at getting attention to our relational attributes which identify our likes, dislikes, wants, needs and affinities.
  2. When attracted we engage in examining the message and the related value and affinity of the proposed proposition.
  3. Relationships are influenced by intent. If the message and subsequent experience isn’t “socially oriented” then you lose the audience because there is no enrichment.
  4. If buyers don’t consider your environment and the interactions of the shopping experience enriching then they will seek other options.
  5. If the value of your proposition doesn’t include enrichment to the social engagement then you lose the transactions.

Whether online or off in order to enhance your transactions you must first enhance the social experience. Money reflects social engagement and experience.

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