Don’t look now, but Halloween is two weeks away with Thanksgiving and Christmas close behind. This can send either sheer excitement or terror up one’s spine. Enter social media and online shopping to the rescue! According to a study by Lightspeed Research, during last year’s 2010 holiday season, 38 percent of consumers who shopped for holiday gifts online say they spent more money with e-retailers than the prior year. This is great news for online retailers and social media. Experts agree that a trifecta of sorts is responsible for this increase: the public’s greater comfort of buying goods on line; a larger age group comfortable with the Internet and e-commerce; and the relative ease and speed of online shopping.
Not to mention the change in demographics. No longer do grown children stay in the same hometown as their parents when entering the job market. This creates a need for sending and shipping gifts for the holidays. I know this is my situation. As all of my family and my husband’s family are located across the country, online shopping/shipping is the answer. Most online retailers offer free shipping if you spend a minimum amount. While the Lightspeed Research survey concluded only 7 percent of consumers did all of their shopping online, I suspect that figure will likely continue to climb. The key, however, to online shopping is to get it done early. Otherwise, last minute shipping will cost you an arm and a leg.
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are also becoming major players in promoting hot new items for the holidays. If a company or product is “liked” or promoted on Twitter, it is more likely a consumer will check it out for purchase. Again, the powerful word-of-mouth benefit of social media is at play. I can vividly recall being in San Francisco in the late ’90s and seeing people on the streets promoting the Internet and online shopping for the upcoming holiday season. I thought what a strange concept. We’ve come a long way. Where do you see the future of online e-commerce and social media? Do you see it continuing to grow or falling short of its promise?