Online Shopping and Social Media

Last Sunday I spent my evening browsing various online shopping sites looking for the perfect pair of  brown boots to buy as a gift to myself. Getting distracted as usual, I found myself shamelessly browsing my Facebook newsfeed. There on my feed, I saw the exact pair of boots that I was looking at just moments before! “How did they know that I looked at those?”, I thought to myself. Turns out, many sites use their data to advertise to specific social media users.

Social media has allowed companies to expand their customer bases using the “word of mouth” approach that is a classic to marketing strategy. If a lot of people are talking about something, the more popular it becomes. Social media has snowballed this idea so that an advertisement or brand can reach people all over the globe in an instant. Crazy right? Furthermore, the evolving use of data allows companies to figure out who is looking at their stuff and market directly toward those people using social media.

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With the expansion of social media has come the emergence of a new type of “store”, the online shopping site. Companies like Zappos, Amazon, Tobi, and Etsy have become so popular because they offer convenience to their customers. A sort of marketplace culture has emerged in which sites bring together products from different companies and creators to a single place. Also, customer service benefits like free shipping and returns take away some consumers’ hesitations about shopping online.

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Linking this new online shopping idea to social media is the icing on the cake in terms of marketing. Having a Facebook page, Twitter account, Youtube account, etc. makes the site much more connected to people. Specifically, the social media site Pinterest allows people to “pin” different products onto a digital cork board for their followers to see. This allows for customers to do the promoting for an item, so easy! All in all, This online marketplace makes it easier for customers to find products they like and for me to find the perfect pair of brown boots with the help of social media!

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