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Five Ways Social Media Will Impact Holiday Buying

Stacy DeBroff is Founder of Mom Central Consulting.

With the arrival of the holiday shopping season, uncertainty reigns for consumers and retailers alike. The economy continues in recovery-mode, election-fueled economic fears still echo, and the fiscal cliff looms on the horizon — all giving rise to concerns over just how far consumers will open their pocketbooks this year. In an uncertain economy, Mom consumers turn increasingly to social media in search of the best deals to stretch their hard-earned dollars.

Here’s our list of the Top 5 ways social media will impact the holiday shopping season, along with tips for small businesses:

Word-of-Mouth Reigns: In tough economic times, Moms won’t take chances on holiday purchases, choosing instead to search out first-person recommendations from Mom bloggers, online product reviews, and pins from fellow Moms’ Pinterest boards. Ninety percent of Moms say they trust products more after hearing about them from friends.

Mobile Moms Hone Shopping Strategies: During the rush of holiday shopping, on-the-go Moms turn to their Smartphones and tablets to ensure they’ve zeroed in on the best available deal. In fact, 50 percent of Moms have downloaded a coupon from their cell phone, and 48 percent have scanned a QR code. Another 93 percent of Moms plan to use coupons this year for holiday shopping.

Bargains Trump Brand Loyalty: Social media fuels new product trial, as Moms get the scoop on hot new holiday products through Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Today more than ever, Moms willingly toss aside old favorites in search of a great deal, and 92 percent of Moms say a coupon has sparked them to try a new product or search out a new store for the first time.

Connections Keep Moms Up-to-Date: Today, Moms keep tabs on the latest brand happenings, promotions and holiday sales via social media. Moreover, 74 percent of Moms say they’re likely to connect with a brand on a social networking site if offered a coupon or discount.

Online Insight Sparks Consumer Comfort: First-person recommendations and online reviews on social media give Moms the stats and facts they need to feel comfortable making big-ticket holiday purchases. Look for Moms at electronics stores, shopping for everything from laptops to gaming consoles to TVs — with 80 percent of Moms saying they’re comfortable buying Smartphones or cameras and 73 percent making laptop purchases on their own.

Tips for Small Businesses

  • Draw Your Most Loyal Customers Near: It can be easy for small businesses to get caught up in the latest technology or the hottest social media platform. Instead, these businesses should focus on one or two forums where customers most want to interact.
  • Use Coupons & Discounts: In tough economic times, Moms actively look for ways to save money. As 68 percent of Moms say they pay attention to brands offering free samples, small businesses can encourage trial through sampling or other financial incentives such as coupons.
  • Cultivate Brand Advocates: Moms trust first-person referrals — and want to hear personal experiences and perspectives. Small businesses should develop a network of loyal customers who can offer insight into their product experiences. Moreover, loyalty and referral programs can help boost word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Create Content: Small businesses can also use their expertise to create and share content that can provide value to their customers. For example, a dry cleaner can provide tips on storing out-of-season clothes, while a local restaurant can share its chef-inspired holiday recipes with its loyal clientele.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessNewsDaily.

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