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Social shopping fails to entice consumers

20 September 2016 - 15:00 by David Aiken

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While plenty of people head to social networks to research products and get advice about what to buy before carrying out safe shopping online, the attempts by services like Twitter and Pinterest to make it easier to connect these two processes seem to have fallen flat.

In a new study from Sumo Heavy Industries, it emerged that just a tenth of people have ever clicked on the ‘buy’ buttons that have been introduced on several platforms in recent months.

Furthermore, almost two thirds of respondents said that they would be unlikely to engage with this type of integrated social networking feature in the future.

This is a distinct problem for social networks for a number of reasons, not least because many of them are looking for effective ways to monetise their freely accessible services. And in the case of Twitter in particular, generating ad revenue is crucial to long term survival.

Industry analysts believe that there are a number of barriers which get in the way of making social ‘buy’ buttons more appealing to consumers, chief among which is the fact that news feeds are constantly being refreshed. So as new content floods in, it is often the case that these buttons stream past users’ faces without even registering on their spectrum of attention.

In addition, it is believed that quite a sizeable proportion of people who use social networks are not happy with any kind of ad or service which directs them to a third party site, hence these buttons being seen as disruptive rather than beneficial.

Social media firms must find the right balance between keeping their platforms as streamlined as possible and making sure that they can also be effective platforms for safe shopping online, if they want to ensure that consumers and brands alike remain content.