Social media has become a powerful marketing channel for online retailers worldwide. The majority of global online shoppers read reviews, feedback and comments on social networks before making a purchase, according to a 2015 survey. Younger shoppers especially were more likely to visit social media sites for inspiration when searching for products to buy. Moreover, a small two-digit percentage share of surveyed online shoppers reported having placed a purchase order directly via a social media channel.
Social commerce is particularly strong in emerging markets, such as India, where half of consumers living in cities research product information on social media. Also in Turkey a significant share of consumers use social networks to find product information, especially for fashion-related items. In Saudi Arabia consumers report that social media such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook influence their purchase decision and in Indonesia, close to half of online shoppers reported making a purchase via a social network.
In advanced B2C E-Commerce markets, and also in selected emerging ones, omnichannel has become the buzzword of the retailing world. According to surveys of global shoppers, the top factors that drive an in-store and an online purchase are different: better pricing or deals and the ability to see the product, respectively. As a result, consumers use different channels on their path to purchase. In Germany, for instance, half of online shoppers were showrooming at least occasionally in 2015, i.e. researching products in-store before buying them online, and an even higher share did the research online before purchasing in-store, a practice known as webrooming.
Retailers try to adapt to the trend and unite the perceived benefits of various channels into a seamless shopping experience for customers. One of the omnichannel offerings is the buy online and collect in-store service. It is especially popular in the UK, where large store-based retailers like Tesco and Asda are also among the leaders in B2C E-Commerce. In 2015, more than two thirds of online shoppers in the UK used click-and-collect.