Social Sharing Becomes Mainstream Driver of Product Discovery for Shoppers and Referral Traffic for Retailers

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New Study shows 62 percent of online shoppers read product-related comments from friends on Facebook; 75 percent of these shoppers click through to visit retailer websites

Sociable Labs™, a leading provider of on-site social commerce solutions, today published a new consumer research study called Social Impact. The study is based on a survey of 1088 online shoppers who also use Facebook, and investigates the influence and impact of social sharing on consumer purchases. The survey was conducted between January 15 and February 8, 2012, covering the following areas:

  •      What percentage of consumers take action on social sharing
  •     How consumer-to-consumer sharing influences referral visits and purchases
  •     What drives shoppers to act on social sharing and how you can increase those actions
  •     Why sharers share and what will make them share more
  •     What the value of “Social Proofing” (i.e. seeing friend activity on a site) is to consumers

A key finding of this study is that a majority of consumers are using and acting on social sharing. 62 percent of online shoppers have read product-related comments from their friends on Facebook (example shown in attached image).

75 percent of these shoppers have clicked on the product link in their friend’s Facebook post, taking them to the product page on the retailer’s website. And 53 percent of the shoppers who clicked through to the retailer’s site have made a purchase.

The study found that shoppers find social sharing to be equivalent to Google Search in terms of helpfulness in looking for a product to buy, with 48 percent of shoppers saying social sharing is “extremely helpful” or “very helpful” when shopping for a product. The primary benefit shoppers experience with social sharing is product discovery (“it helps me find a product I might want to buy”).

Another key finding is that “Social Proofing” – the use of social sharing content to show friend activity directly on an ecommerce site – significantly increases shopper confidence in a retailer’s ecommerce site. 33 percent of shoppers say they are more likely to stay and shop on retailer sites that show people who have shopped on that site. That number increases to 62 percent if some of those people are their friends. In addition, 57 percent of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase from sites that show friends who have purchased there before.

The findings from this study suggest that social sharing is becoming a mainstream source of shopping information for consumers. In addition, social sharing displayed directly on ecommerce sites (social proofing) is increasing shopper engagement (greater time on site and lower bounce rates) and conversion rates.

“This study got into the minds of consumers to find out how friend-to-friend sharing influences the way they shop and buy online,” says Darby Williams, VP of Marketing at Sociable Labs. “We found that consumers discover what products to buy through social sharing, and then act on that information 75 percent of the time. Retailers have the ability to trigger this kind of sharing from their ecommerce sites, driving both significant referral visits and conversion uplift if they fully leverage it. Now with high-velocity ‘Frictionless Sharing’, social sharing can become one of the top drivers of both for almost any online retailer.”

To download the full report, go to

About Sociable Labs
Sociable Labs is an enterprise software company that provides on-site social commerce solutions that maximize referral traffic and on-site conversion through high-velocity social sharing and curation. At the core, Sociable makes social sharing useful to consumers, driving product discovery, referral visits to your site and the confidence to buy when they get there. Sociable leverages the power of Facebook's frictionless sharing platform to drive dramatically higher sharing and the power of Pinterest-style social curation to merchandise your products in highly credible and engaging ways. Sociable's customers include Rue La La, Charlotte Russe, HauteLook, and Wayfair.

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Shannon Hutto
Bateman Group for Sociable Labs
(415) 503-1818
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