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Payments, shopping and social media

Friday, 09 May 2014
According to a survey by YouGov, customers do not trust retailers with a presence in social media. Apparently over half of those surveyed by the research company claimed that they are less likely to trust a retailer if it has a presence on a social networking site. The report also shows that many e-consumers prefer to separate their online shopping from their online social activity, with 42 per cent believing that social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook are for friends, not retail. Perhaps surprisingly, it is the youngest online shoppers (16-24 year olds) who are most keen to keep their social networking activity separate from their shopping activity. According to the report, more than half of this age group do not want their purchasing history to be available to sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and 61 per cent prefer to separate their social networking and online shopping. However other research indicates that ‘social shopping’ - shopping involving the use of social media - is predicted to boom. New research from eBay estimates that in the next two years the value of social media for retail will more than double from £1.5bn to reach around £3.3bn, as more and more retailers target consumers with personalised offers and deals on social networks. In today’s world of mobile payments, online shopping and social networking, these are interesting findings for Retailers, who are looking for ways to increase their sales using the huge growth that has been generated in the social networking sphere. Alongside this, the social networking giants themselves are exploring how they can expand into the payments environment. The Financial Times reported last month that Facebook is close to obtaining a license in Ireland that would allow its users to hold and exchange money on the social networking site. Google Wallet allows its users to store debit, credit, loyalty and gift cards, as well as redeeming sales promotions on their mobile phone. There is also speculation in the industry that Apple is considering an attempt to break into the mobile payments market, based on the huge quantity of customer details that it holds. Whilst it is easy to draw a number of conclusions from current research and the various players and initiatives in the market today, it is somewhat more difficult to predict the exact shape of the industry to come. What is certain however is that today’s fast-moving kaleidoscope of consumer shopping, social networks and payments innovation make this a hugely exciting time for the industry and those involved in it.
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