The Psychology Behind Social Commerce

I’ve been researching for Kuliza’s upcoming Social Technology Quarterly Report and trying to get an understanding of how social commerce works. I found an excellent and comprehensive post by Paul Marsden that explains the impact of social psychology on shopping. If you prefer visuals you can check out the presentation version instead of the blog post.

He explains that when shopping, people are thinslicing all the information they are confronted with. We do this so we are left with only the most relevant cues to make our shopping decisions. The article outlines in detail the 6 heuristics that people use to process the thin-sliced information:

  1. Social Proof – we take our cues from what other people have done
  2. Authority – we take our cues from what people who have specialist knowledge, experience or expertise have done
  3. Scarcity – we take our cues from how available opportunities are and fear of potential loss
  4. Liking – we take our cues from people we like
  5. Consistency –  we take our cues from our beliefs and past behaviours
  6. Reciprocity – we take our cues from being able to repay favours

Understanding how people make decisions will help brands develop better-informed and more focused social commerce strategies.



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