Are You a Social Shopaholic?

Are you a regular on Facebook and Twitter? Have you “friended” retailers in order to get their coupons and to become eligible for their contests? If you have, then you are like more than 40% of American shoppers who utilize social media to get bargains. According to many experts, social media will be among the five most effective ways to bring new visitors to retailer web sites, but since the holidays are just around the corner, it might be time to take a closer look at your shopping habits. You don’t want to fall victim to buying on impulse and spending money on things you really don’t need.

With so many outlets featuring great deals and sales it’s easy to get caught-up in the excitement and simply buy because you think it’s a great deal. That’s not necessarily smart shopping; that’s impulse buying, which if you are not careful, can lead to debt.

A recent study suggests that social media shoppers, compared to non-social media shoppers, spend more time shopping, which means more money is being spent. The scenario could be something like this: you are surfing the web or perhaps visiting different social networking sites and you notice the coupon or sale of the day. You weren’t planning on buying anything but this sale is so great that you can’t resist. The next step is to take out the credit card and make the purchase. It can be like an addiction; your always “jonesing” for the next great deal.

The other scenario could be that you are on Facebook or some forum and you notice your friends and others talking about a certain product; it could be an electronic item or some elaborate new toy that they bought for their kids. You start to become intrigued and look the product up. You like it, but probably don’t need it. But that doesn’t matter; you’ve already become introduced to the item and are consciously or unconsciously thinking about why you should buy it. You’re already hooked…

Marketing professionals understand this social phenomenon and are capitalizing upon it by monitoring social media outlets, blogs, review sites and more. They are listening to what the shoppers are saying and integrating that feedback into their marketing efforts. So when they see hot ticket items or hot button topics they take advantage of it and disseminate information out into the electronic world, which reaches you the social media shopper.

Just think about all the Black Friday talk leading up to a crescendo of sales and money saving deals. Marketers push the messages out and the media latches onto it and the talk spreads even further. The truth is, deals can be had before Thanksgiving and all the way up to Christmas Eve. Retailers fan the fire on social networks and shoppers run to the flames – and retailers like that; because it gets so many people to buy now.

Social shopping can yield some great deals and the upside to reading blogs and reviews is that you have someone doing the leg work for you and can get the best prices available. But you have  to realize it’s just another outlet to get you to buy – and a very effective one. You don’t have to drive to the mall anymore. You can sit in front of your computer or use your smart phone and spend, knowing that you’re saving loads of money, but you have to remember that you are also spending money. So the moral of the story is not to go crazy and buy every deal that catches your eye. Be selective and purchase only what you will use.  Also, keep a log of all items purchased so you won’t forget to use them or give them as gifts.

I wish you a happy and safe holiday season! 8)