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February 21, 2012

Business success in the world of social networking requires some understanding of basic philosophies on why people take an action.  The bottom line is that retailers and other business people need to be part of this rapidly growing world or they might either miss out on sales opportunities, in the process losing them to more active competitors.

One behavioral model suggests that three elements must be present for a shopper to take action: motivation, ability and trigger. Minus one of the three, an action—linking to a company or buying a product or service—might never take place. Some of this became very clear in consumer interviews conducted as part of the new study on social networking from the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America.

When TheInteger Group, the consulting firm handling the study, asked shoppers why they failed to interact with certain companies in the social web, most said they either never thought about making that connection or couldn’t find any way it would benefit them to do so. Essentially, they had the ability to connect, but lacked the motivation or the trigger.

Businesses need to consider how to bridge that gap and create persuasion to build customer interaction and purchases. That means considering how to build relationships, proof that others are using the same business site, benefits, some sense of scarcity and consistency. Finding a way to support human needs in all these areas can clearly lead to new and repeat business.

More details on understanding these drivers of key shopper behaviors and how to link to them in the social web can be found in this new report available at www.ccrrc.org (North America page). New sections of the social networking report will be released every few weeks throughout the winter and spring.

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America