Psychology of Social Commerce

Psychology of Social Commerce

In order to succeed in the era of social commerce, business people who want to sell online need to get familiar with a set of rules that are really the backbone of social commerce. Social commerce is part of e-commerce, only it uses social media to sell products and/or services. Shoppers engaging in social commerce go through a set of thinking processes that are heavily influenced by cognitive biases. Psychologists have identified 6 universal ‘mental rules of thumbs’ to social commerce.


1.Social Proof: Shoppers faced with uncertainty tend to look at what others have done in their situation – i.e., if they have made the purchase or not. The study used for the purposes of the info graphic shows that 81% of consumers receive advice from friends and family regarding a purchase through a social networking site.


2.Authority: Any feedback by experts or specialists in a certain field is worth its weight in gold for shoppers, who can then decrease uncertainty substantially. The research shows that 77% of online shoppers use reviews to make a purchase decision. This means that the more you show that you – the seller – are an expert in your field, the more chances there are for you to attract and increase your clientele.


3.Scaricity: Shoppers give greater value to resources as they become less available due to fear of potential loss. For instance, 77% of people like getting exclusive offers that they can redeem via Facebook. This means that an offer with unlimited life is much less attractive to an online shopper than an offer with a restricted lifetime, or existing in a limited number.


4.Like: What others are saying about a product or service is highly valued by a shopper. Almost 50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on a recommendation through a social network. Thus, getting involved with your social network and getting your product to be liked as much as possible is very important.


5.Consistency: When faced with uncertainty, shoppers prefer options that are consistent with past behavior and beliefs. It is a sort of a shopping ‘comfort zone’. The research shows that 62% of online shoppers are brand loyal due to online satisfaction. What this means is that sellers can capitalize on loyalty programs as many shoppers are likely to return if an incentive is presented to them.


6.Reciprocity: This refers to the ‘pay it forward’ concept: if someone sends you a tip on a product or service and you have liked it, you will offer something back like spreading the word about it in your social network. These ‘favor repayments’ work to maintain social fairness, whether those favors were invited or not. 25 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every month – highlighting in big how much is shared amongst the online community, on a range of topics of interest. This means for you that the more your product is liked, the more likely it is to be spread out by your own customers.


In a nutshell, to sell your product online, you need to master the science of social commerce. Social commerce is a systematic, thorough and rigorous process that needs to be carefully developed, and social media a tool that needs to be listened to, interacted with and monitored regularly. The art in social commerce will be to turn this science into the most attractive way of selling to your customers.


Check out he new book by Steve Nicholls: Social Media in Business

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