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Social media exerts growing influence over online shopping

30 January 2015 - 09:27 by Sarah Collinson

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The latest report from Shopify has revealed the extent to which social media services are altering and influencing the way that people do their shopping online.

Over the course of 2014, it was found that the number of orders placed online which originated from social media sources was up by 202 per cent, compared to the previous year. And a third of all purchases came from mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, with more browsing done on these portable platforms than ever before.

Facebook was the biggest social influencer when it comes to safe shopping online, with rapid growth seen last year. It is leading the market, well ahead of Twitter, which sits in second place in Shopify’s latest analysis.

Consumers seem to be stuck in the habit of shopping online during the working day, with the 12-2pm period proving to be the most popular. This clearly correlates with the typical lunch break, although Sunday evenings are also shown to be popular for e-commerce activities.

The importance of social media as a tool for generating online sales is becoming apparent and this is great news for companies like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, because of course, this will help them boost their advertising revenues.

The main downside is that campaigns operated on social services can lead to a user backlash if they are poorly thought out, as has happened to a number of big brands.

The upshot is that retailers will need to carefully balance how they engage with social media, to ensure they get the best returns from it. Meanwhile, the networks themselves will be striving to find more ways to make people actually buy items through their various channels, over the course of 2015 and well into the future.