How Social Media Can Influence In-Store Shopping

The purchase journey is highly interactive. Today’s consumers expect what’s online and offline to connect, to such a degree that in-store shoppers regularly pull up mobile apps, text friends for opinions, and peruse product review sites before making purchases.

Psychologists call the phenomenon social proof. Marketers know it as a reality of the business world – an acknowledgement that peer influence sways potential customers more than ever – and it has top retailers rethinking store design.

By introducing social signage to brick-and-mortar environments, brands aim to bridge the gap between two statistical realities.

First, we know that as many as 90% of shoppers say user-generated content – UGC like customer photos, reviews, and recommendations on social media – influence their purchase decisions. And this outranks all other forms of brand marketing, including promotional emails and advertisements.

Secondly, studies show that 82 percent of shopping decisions are made in-store.

The potential to influence these impulse buys through digital signage is incredibly strong. In fact, simply by fostering feelings of authenticity, social media displays help shoppers buy with confidence and grow more loyal to the brand.  

“Shoppers love images, videos, GIFs and reviews submitted by consumers just like them,” says Forbes Communication Council Member Yoni Solomon. E-commerce sites now regularly embed UGC into shoppable galleries with great success, and Solomon says it’s time for physical stores to reinvent themselves, too. He suggests “trading studio and stock imagery for shopper-submitted Instagram displays, and even incorporating digital reviews into physical aisles and products.”

Featuring real customer content in retail displays is exactly the kind of marketing shoppers crave. Consumers eye promotional content skeptically, but 92 percent say they trust and welcome candid testimonials and advice. In fact, research even shows that shoppers are willing to pay more and experience slower delivery speeds as long as they can view UGC about a product.

Imagine the impact of publishing a “best of” reel of customer photos next to actual products. By introducing truly persuasive content right when and where consumers need to see it most, brands can create immersive, shopping experiences that tap into emotions like trust and transparency. And for long-term growth, that’s what really matters, says Forbes Communications Council Panelist Preeti Adhikary.

“Very often, a brand is about how it makes you ‘feel’ and the values you associate with it. A store should be an extension of this feeling,” Adhikary says, “and everything from the store design to layout to décor should reiterate an emotional connection. Words, symbols and colors can all be used to connect the dots.”

When those visuals originate from actual shoppers sharing happy experiences, brands can count on better results. To join the world’s most sophisticated brands in deploying this strategy, request a complimentary demo of TwineSocial or try it for free today. It’s never been easier to feature valuable UGC into digital signage, live event streams, and brand advertising!

For more ideas on how to promote shared enthusiasm around an idea, product, or community, check out our solutions gallery. Then, kick off your own success story with a free 7-day trial of TwineSocial. Let us know how we can help!

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