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Social Networks and Online Retail

By Mike Sachoff

Social networks and online communities have little impact on online retail sales according to a report from JupiterResearch, "Us Retail Consumer survey, 2007."

Social networking sites are only leading to 12 percent of online shoppers to buy more than they planned. Fifty-three percent of online shoppers go directly to the retailer Web site, compared to three percent who utilize blogs. Online shoppers continue to prefer direct access to locations where they purchase a product or the source of that product when researching and purchasing online and off-line.

"From a branding and advertising perspective, social and community sites are garnering a great deal of influence online," explained Patti Freeman Evans, Senior Analyst with JupiterResearch.

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"But when researching a product online, shoppers are looking for fundamental information, not entertainment or social interaction. In the end, the consumer is still interested in convenience and efficiency and social and community sites are just not that efficient."

The report found that social and community sites help reaffirm purchase decisions as 29 percent of online shoppers said they made better decisions after using these sites. In the competitive retail market those that use an affiliate model increase their opportunity with social and community sites.

"There is a propensity to gravitate toward what is considered to be the latest and greatest method of getting noticed without knowing for certain that this particular tactic will work," said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch. "Retailers would be better served to take a step back and evaluate how effective tactics really are - and with whom - to make a stronger impact with the right audiences rather than succumbing to trends."

About the Author:
Mike is a staff writer for WebProNews.

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