How Might Social Media Affect Your Holiday Shopping?

I’m almost finished with my holiday shopping. But many people are still in full swing. Or maybe you haven’t even started yet. No matter where you are in the process do you think social media played (or will play) a role?

In this day and age I’d be very surprised if social media didn’t affect our holiday shopping in at least a small way. How? Here are a few examples of how social media might play a role in retail sales and your holiday shopping decisions.

5 Ways Social Media Might Impact Holiday Shopping Choices

 

  1. Product feedback and reviews — Social media enables friends, family members, and other consumers to leave feedback and reviews on products, services and companies. Before making a holiday purchase, turn to these reviews. You can find them on retail sites like Amazon.com. You can find them through services like Yelp. You can see what people like and dislike through your social networks like Facebook or services like Twitter. Don’t go into holiday shopping uneducated this year. These days you can go in armed with more knowledge than ever.
  2. Company responsiveness — If you plan to purchase services (like signing your teen up for a new mobile plan) or high ticket items that could become hassles if they break (like big screen televisions), consider the company. It isn’t always about the product or service you purchase. How a company responds to customers can be another important factor, especially if you purchase gifts. If you go with a company known for awful customer service, you’re condemning the gift recipient to that; not yourself. Check Twitter or the company’s Facebook page. Do they respond to customer questions and concerns? How about on their company blog? Tech companies in particular often have blogs where they keep customers up to date about problems and solutions.
  3. Personalized offers / Special offers — If you follow your favorite retailers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, you might just get special offer notices that aren’t advertised in other ways. It’s a perk of staying connected. Or if you use geolocation services like Foursquare you might be eligible for personalized deals — special offers with businesses you already frequent. For example, Foursquare specials allow companies to give you deals if you check in a certain number of times or serve as the “mayor” of their establishment.
  4. Sharing / Gift Lists — Retailers like Amazon.com have had wish lists available for quite some time. People share their lists publicly or can give the links directly to family and friends. You can also search for wish lists by name or email address there. If you’ve passed around links to a similar gift list of your own this year, you’ve introduced social media to several people’s holiday shopping! Kaboodle.com is another option for sharing and viewing wish lists from people on your holiday shopping list.
  5. Social Savings — Sites like Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com go beyond shopping. They make savings social. That’s right. While doing your holiday shopping this year (or maybe rewarding yourself for a year well-spent), you can find amazing deals through these social savings sites. You can pass them along to others you know, or maybe you’ll get the deals through friends who found them on the site. For example, with LivingSocial.com after you take advantage of a daily deal for your local area you can share it — pass it along to your friends and family. If three people take advantage of the offer, you get yours for free. And hey, with all of the typical holiday expenses hitting you at once, you can’t beat free!
Sample Groupon Deal

Sample Groupon Deal from Groupon.com

Whether you realize it or not, chances are very good that social media will play a role in your holiday shopping this year. What about you? How will social media affect your holiday shopping, or how has it already? Feel free to share other sites, bargain-finding tips, or other social shopping strategies in the comments below.

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