Thursday, March 26, 2009

Retailers Add Social Media Capabilities to Shopping Sites

A recent eMarketer report revealed the site features and functions retailers planned to add to their sites. A variety of social media functions made the list, including plans to build communities, add customer ratings and reviews, and even blogs. The most popular social media function on the retailers' list, however, was personalized product recommendations.

Peer recommendations are common on social shopping sites, such as Polyvore and StyleHop. Says senior eMarketer analyst Jeffrey Grau:"There are situations where peer recommendations provide more meaningful results. Take for example a woman who has just moved to Manhattan and needs help choosing and purchasing appropriate business attire. An automated recommendation system would be challenged to find suitable suggestions based on her historical shopping data. A better source of apparel advice would be other professionals working in New York.”

And the benefits of peer recommendations are not limited to customers.
“Retailers like personalized product recommendations because they create cross-sell and upsell opportunities,” says Mr. Grau. “They also cite long-term benefits such as a higher degree of customer engagement and loyalty.”

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