The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Engaging customers on Facebook: challenges for e-retailers

Harris, Lisa and Dennis, Charles (2011) Engaging customers on Facebook: challenges for e-retailers Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 10, (6), pp. 338-346. (doi:10.1002/cb.375).

Record type: Article


Social networking, particularly Facebook, is becoming ever more prevalent, particularly with young people. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which consumers are willing to incorporate product/service recommendations and purchase activity into social networking behaviour. We report a qualitative study focus groups with students at two UK-based universities. The results lead us to propose new theory appropriate to this new form of consumer behaviour. First, notwithstanding consumers expressing little interest in social e-shopping, a ‘nudge’ in the form of recommendations from friends and trial of appropriate systems should result in changes in consumer behaviour towards its use. Second, we propose a hierarchy of trust ordinal scale in recommenders/reviewers from ‘real’ friends at the top down to reviews on retailers’ websites, which may be positively associated with intention to purchase.
These findings have practical implications for retailers likely to be affected by major changes in the way that consumer purchasing decisions are made. First, companies targeting their products and services at young people such as students should consider adjusting their communication strategies to take account of the wide variety of attitudes and behaviours that students exhibit towards online interactions outside of established networks of close friends. Second, in order to develop trust and subsequent purchase activity from their social network supporters, retailers need to pay attention to the integration of their data across the whole of the organisation, and ensure the availability of sufficient numbers of trained and empowered staff to engage with their supporters effectively.

Microsoft Word FacebookpaperAug11.doc - Author's Original
Download (140kB)

More information

Published date: December 2011
Keywords: facebook, social e–shopping, social networking, e-retailing, e-shopping


Local EPrints ID: 186717
ISSN: 1472-0817
PURE UUID: 3820ffb5-c070-45fb-967d-62d2dd485c78

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 May 2011 08:24
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:46

Export record



Author: Lisa Harris
Author: Charles Dennis

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.