The Reddit subculture that spawned the massive GameStop day trading has transformed the stock market forever. This social phenomenon inspired Americans who had never before in traded a stock to participate in one of the largest collective community stock purchase events we've seen.

As I reflect on what happened, I can’t help but think how human influence plays a part in more than just the stock market. Specifically, in how we as consumers shop and purchase online.

We as consumers let a multitude of factors influence our online purchasing decisions. We see a pair of Nikes on the street that we like and we immediately pull out our phone to Google what they might be called and where we can purchase them. If we are looking to buy a new pair of jeans online, we read reviews and articles on how the jeans fit, their durability, and their style. Does this behavior sound familiar?

It should.

What’s happened with Reddit isn’t anything new in how human behavior is influenced by the opinions of others. In fact, 91% of consumers aged 18 to 34 say the trust online reviews as much as personal reviews. Essentially, we as consumers look for validation before making a purchase.

So, if you’re an ecommerce business, how can you leverage this behavior to your advantage in a productive way? How can you provide consumers with a purchasing experience that gives them all the vital pieces of information they need to not only feel confident about their order, but to keep them coming back?

Here are some themes to consider:

Take Product Reviews Omnichannel

Online reviews on product detail pages help consumers feel comfortable, however, it’s always been a challenge to find the right way to inject them into an ecommerce purchasing experience that feels native to the consumer journey. Instead, look to leverage reviews throughout your customer’s journey. Advanced ecommerce platforms today provide abilities for you as marketers to target consumers with content through email, SMS, phone, etc. If someone clicks on a product in your recent email promotion but doesn’t purchase, retarget them with peer-led reviews and content that may inspire them to purchase.

Related Article: Leveraging the Power of Online Reviews

Harness the Power of Social Conversation

As we saw with Reddit, chances are high that an online community or group is reviewing or discussing your products. Consumers have a knack for speaking their mind and sharing it via social platforms. Look to engage in these conversations as a brand. We’ve seen this with fast food chains like McDonalds and Burger King and the numerous Twitter battles they’ve waged over the years in the comments section as consumers engage in a battle royal on the superiority of the Big Mac vs. the Whopper. Engaging with customers through social media not only makes your brand more human, it allows consumers to engage with other similar-minded people, thereby creating a community of advocates that will strengthen your brand and customer lifetime value.

Related Article: Apple Doesn't Hide Its Customer Community, So Why Do You?

Learning Opportunities

Adopt the Art of Social Selling

With Instagram moving full steam ahead with the rollout of its ecommerce-enabled social marketplace, it creates a fantastic opportunity for marketers to sell products in a channel where customers are inspired by likes and content. Customers can now follow, interact and engage with brands just as they would their friends, and brands now have the opportunity to not only communicate with customers, but offer them ways to purchase products through the channel they are already in.

Related Article: How to Use Instagram Search Optimization: A New Kind of SEO

From Native Advertising to Influencers

Native advertising has traditionally produced dividends in print form for brands by injecting content into stories that doesn’t seem forced or out of context. My favorite example to refer to here is how Michelin developed the 5-Star Restaurant Guide. If you aren’t familiar, let me fill you in: In the early 1900s Michelin developed a guide to inspire people to purchase more cars and drive to unique, interesting locations. This eventually morphed into a guide that was used to give rankings to restaurants throughout the world that would persuade folks to visit based upon the various rankings they handed out. Michelin's idea was genius for a few reasons. First, it provided a native way for the population to receive useful information on interesting places to visit. Second, it subconsciously inserted the Michelin name into these experiences when the consumers’ emotions are heightened. Finally, when it mixed the car tire brand name with heightened emotions, it developed brand value and affinity that ultimately drove consumers to purchase more Michelin tires. Oh by the way, it also inspired people to take day trips, which helped Michelin decrease its product lifecycle, creating increased demand for its tires.

The Michelin example is important because it’s exactly what social influencers are doing today. They have the ear and the voice of your customers with the content they produce. By teaming up with influencers, brands can place their product in a stream where consumers are engaged, focused and have heightened emotions. This will yield solid dividends for your brand affinity and awareness.

Related Article: Marketers Beware: Influencer Marketing Fraud Is Real

It's All About Driving Interest

The Reddit craze has only just begun for the stock market, but it’s nothing new to the retail commerce space. Consumer influence has always been present and accounted for. Just as Reddit made stocks popular, influencers, family members, friends and all people alike, influence our purchasing behavior in subconscious ways. This influence creates interest for us as consumers to purchase products and feel comfortable in our purchasing decision.

David Ogilvy once said, “You can’t bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them.” Reddit has taught us that interest can come from the most unexpected places. What will interest your customers to buy today?

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