Engaging customers on Facebook: Challenges for e-retailers


Lisa Harris, School of Management, University of Southampton, UK.

E-mail: l.j.harris@soton.ac.uk


The purpose of this paper is to carry out an exploratory investigation into the emerging interactions between young consumers and consumer products/services on social networks. In particular, we examine the extent to which a small exploratory sample of participants are willing to incorporate social shopping behaviour, namely, product/service recommendations and retail purchase activities. We draw upon a qualitative study of four focus groups carried out with students at two UK-based universities. The results lead us to suggest specific avenues of enquiry that could be pursued in future larger scale work in this new area of consumer behaviour research. We note that for our participants, a ‘nudge’ in the form of recommendations from friends appears to be influential in changing online shopping behaviour and that a hierarchy of trust ordinal scale in recommenders/reviewers ranging from ‘real’ friends at the top down to reviews on retailers’ websites may be positively associated with intention to purchase. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.