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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : March 07, 2012

Social media icons on shopping sites influence purchase decisions

Have you even hung around the pharmacy waiting for the checkout area to clear of people before buying that, errrr, special cream? If so you'll have a good understanding of why social media icons could have an effect on a shopper's decision to make an online purchase.

by Helen Leggatt

A recent study by the University of Miami School of Business Administration, Empirica Research and StyleCaster Media Group found that the presence of a social media icon, such as a Facebook "Like" or Tweet button, can influence whether or not an online shopper makes a purchase.

When placed alongside products that might be deemed embarrassing, social media icons were off-putting and the shopper 25% less likely to make a purchase. Why? Because, as with the pharmacy crowds, the potential exists for news of their purchase to be broadcast to their friends and family.

Naturally, when a shopper is proud to be associated with a product, they are more likely to make the purchase (25%) from a website displaying a social media icon.

"Our study finds that the mere presence of social media icons on a web page where we shop appears to cause us to feel as if our purchases are being watched by our social network, and we adjust our buying decisions accordingly," said Claudia Townsend, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. "Marketers should be aware that the placement of these symbols in their web design strategy could have a major impact on buying behavior."

Tags: buying behavior, consumer behavior, online shopping, purchase patterns, research, retail, shopping website, social media, web design

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