May You Live in Pinterest-ing Times: Social media and Holiday Shopping

Yes, we’re barely past Labor Day, and it’s already time to think of your customers’ shopping habits as the holiday season approaches. Indeed, you may have been thinking about such things before the last 4th of July sparkler was lit.

But interesting information reveals that your customers’ habits and shopping behaviors continue to change with the social media landscape around them. We’ve written before about “showrooming,” that shoppers’ tendency to view an item in the “real world” — a store — then to start surfing on their mobile device for a better price.

Now comes word that some social media sites — led by picture-pinning Pinterest — may be causing a kind of “reverse showrooming.” As a report on Business Insider recently stated, “data distributed by Vision Critical, and highlighted in the Harvard Business Review found that 21% of Pinterest users had bought an item in a store after pinning, repinning, or liking the item on the site

“Vision Critical describes this as part of a wider phenomenon it calls ‘reverse showrooming,’ in which consumers search or browse products online and then enter the physical shop to make a final purchase.”

Pinterest, it would seem, whets consumer appetites for certain products so sharply, that customers simply have to have whatever “it” is, and head out to get one.

The article continues that in contrast to showrooming, “which is spurred by e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay, reverse showrooming seems to have its reoots in social media and social commerce: friends’ and strangers’ recommendations can inspire shoppers’ purchase decisions, offline and online.”

Further, retailing chain Nordstrom  “is testing displays that highlight Pinterest-trending items on in-store displays.” They are, in other words, trying to make “reverse showrooming” as easy as possible on their customers.

One newer term being applied to this multi-platform, on-and-offline approach is “Omnichannel.” As a report from eMarketer noted, about customer behavior heading into the holiday season, “With online and mobile now omnipresent in consumers’ shopping behavior, the key to creating a seamless customer experience and driving sales is reaching shoppers on any device or at any location, increasing inventory and pricing transparency and providing more fulfillment options than ever before.”

The time between summer’s last sparkler, and the first Chanukah candle or Christmas tree light is a short one — and getting shorter (see those pumpkin displays everywhere?).

And as time marches on, and these — and other — holidays (and years) unfold, the ways your customers’ shop, look for suggestions, and make purchasing decisions,  is constantly being refined, shaped, changed. You need to respond to those changes with effective on and offline strategies, and easy ways for your customers to pay you in either circumstance, when they’re ready — whether mobile payments, eChecks, eCommerce solutions, and more.

Call your AVPS rep today — there is always “interest,” whether there’s a “P” in front of the word or not — in helping customers make the most of this brave new omnichannel world!

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