Social channels now set to both feed and satisfy your inspiration
When it comes to social media, we can safely say that it has become an integral part of marketing strategy: from a platform of discovery and inspiration to its importance for customer care.
And if we look at commerce, in particular inspiration for purchase, social is the fastest rising avenue, especially when it comes to Generation Z. For instance, among 16-24 year olds, 49% look for inspiration in social - that's compared to an average of 32% overall. When you come to think about it, it's not really surprising, considering that the likes of Instagram and Snapchat are defining young people's interactions and behaviours.
But, perhaps, the most important consideration is what the customer does next. Where do they go? Where can they purchase? Social channels do a great job of warming up customer interest, but when they want to convert their interest and inspiration into purchase, they are pushed away from the social channel and towards a brand site, a retailer site, or a marketplace to complete their transaction.
Introducing friction when you want to convert
Is this a good customer experience? Well... not really. brands and retailers are psyching their customers up only to then break their customer journey when they actually wish to convert.
But, this won't be for long. As social platforms become more enhanced with commerce features, it's a no-brainer that customers will look to purchase natively, i.e. within the same app or platform. And why is that so? Customers are lazy and they don't like friction. They want the easiest and fastest way to purchase - maximum gain for minimum effort. So, if that means that they can scroll through their Instagram feed, spy a new pair of trainers that they like, buy them there and then, and continue to scroll their feed, then they are absolutely going to do it.
Improbable, you might think, but actually, this future isn't as far off as you think. The majority of the platform providers are already looking at how to retain and sell to these captive audiences by experimenting with commerce features in various forms. Facebook pioneered Buy buttons, allowing companies to sell directly from their brand pages. And Snapchat partnered with Nike to sell their limited-edition trainers through the app.
But, perhaps the most significant is Instagram. They have utilised discovery tools such as Shoppable Stories to allow brands to apply product tags to their organic content, with information about the items and a link to an external shopping cart. More recently, they've announced the trial of Instagram Checkout, a feature that lets consumers buy from within the social site or app, eliminating that additional step of clicking out to a different platform, thus creating an end-to-end shopping experience that provides added convenience on a channel that consumers love to use.
What is clear is that once the whole transaction can take place natively within the social channels, we are going to be faced with a whole new set of marketplaces, retailers, and shopping journeys, as we know them.
Getting a slice of the social action
So, with this in mind - what should you be thinking about, to ensure that you can get a slice of the action?
- Be where your customers are - and that's within the social channels!
- Prepare for a world in which media-buying strategies must account for the increasing role of social media in finding inspiration
- Think about how much of the experience you will own, and how much will fall into the hands of the social channels themselves
- And what about fulfillment and delivery - how does this fit in? Will the social platforms start new partnerships with fulfillment services to become the retailers of the future?
With the changing demands of our consumers, and the increasing features from the social channels, it's the end of the beginning for social commerce. It's coming. And YOU need to make sure you are prepared.
Wunderman Thompson Commerce work with brands and retailers to advise them on the key revenue potential of social channels and their role within an omnichannel framework. Recognising the emergence of social selling, we are working with clients to help them master this, and to plot inspired, transaction-based customer journeys.
We also speak with consumers to discover how the prefer to shop today and what their expectations are from brands and retailers in the future. The latest views from across 8 international markets are captured in the brand-new Future Shopper 2019 report. Download the report now and discover where today's shoppers go for inspiration, and why it highlights the need for an omnichannel presence.