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Social media and consumer behavior

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Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter give consumers an investigative eye into what products and services they desire are really about. These websites also allow a close eye into the companies that provide these products and services and to be able to converse with other people about them.

Consumers are able to utilize Facebook to reduce their amount of bad purchases by communicating with family members, friends, and co-workers about products and services beforehand. In the past a lot of companies used catalogs that they sent to their customers as well as anyone else that was interested in the products. (Vinerean, 2013, p.73) stated that “other functions of social media involve affecting and influencing perceptions, attitudes and end behavior (Williams & Cothrell, 2000), while bringing together different like-minded people (Hagel & Armstrong, 1997).

In an online environment, Laroche (2012) pointed out that people like the idea of contributing, creating, and joining communities to fulfill needs of belongingness, being socially connected and recognized or simply enjoying interactions with other like-minded members.”

These catalogs were usually updated monthly showcasing the company’s newest products and lines of clothing depending on the next appropriate season for fashion.

Consumers were often times flooded with various magazine catalogs from clothes and accessories to consumer electronics, appliances, and household goods and furniture.

Making a decision on what to purchase meant flipping back and forth through countless pages to find the items they are either looking for or have created a desire for them to purchase. At times consumers also had the option to contact the customer service department to see if were other products in stock that were not showing within the catalog.

Years later came websites like amazon.com, ebay.com, and other retail stores that offered websites for customers to view the available products. For instance larger retail stores like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart began to allow customers to purchase products right on their websites by entering their credit card information.

In other circumstances customers that were not ready to make a purchase were able to browse various retail store websites, see who had the lowest price and the items they were in need of before they left their home.

Other websites like overstock.com became very successful because they were able to offer almost any brand of product for a reduced price compared to other websites and even offered free shipping.

Before the social media era companies had to work very hard to spread the word about their products and services by using every revenue possible.

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