The Psychology of Social Commerce: What Makes People Purchase?

Ever since game developers like Zynga and Playdom proved that people would indeed pay for things – albeit virtual “things” – on social networks, other brands and retailers have begun exploring their own “social commerce” strategies to figure out how they too can leverage the power of Facebook and Twitter and other social platforms to get people to purchase their goods.

Intuitively, social commerce makes complete sense, given that shopping is often a social activity anyway, and the fact that referrals from our friends carry more weight than from those we don’t know.

But now a new infographic from TabJuice quantifies exactly why social commerce makes so much sense as a marketing strategy for big brands and retailers – because it taps into the psychology of would-be shoppers.

As explained in the infographic and an earlier article from social psychologist Paul Marsden on which the infographic is based, people make purchases according to a set of heuristics that determine the outcome of shopping decisions, heuristics like “social proof,” “authority,” “scarcity” and others.

Understanding these heuristics can help brands, merchants and even social gaming companies maximize the power of their social commerce efforts by helping them focus on the connections between individuals rather than the underlying technologies. And understanding the trends pointed out by the infographic will help them want to develop their social commerce strategies faster!

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