Is shopping going social?
Evolution is a challenge for every retailer today. Capturing conversions of consumers is the goal but competition is fierce and the promotions and tactics that were effective five years ago simply may not work today. Social commerce is a burgeoning trend with consumers all over the world, especially the all-important millennial generation. We spend more time on social networks than ever before and this is, increasingly, a crucial platform for retailers looking to reach a wider audience to drive sales and growth.
Millennials driving the rise of social shopping
Millennials are the first generation to have grown up with technology embedded in their lives and are big users of social networks. From blogs and forums, to picture and video sharing platforms and business networks, this generation lives more of their online lives via social than any other. As a result, social platforms have evolved and selling has become an active function in order to capture millennial shoppers. Consumers can now buy directly from the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest – and do in increasing numbers.
The habits of future shoppers
Research we compiled (“The Future Shopper,” a report into online shopper habits and preferences in the US and UK) showed that 39% of US millennials are already actively purchasing via social platforms. In the UK, this figure is 16% but rising steadily. It’s not just at the point of sale that social has an impact on commerce – our research also found that 37% of consumers in both the US and UK were using social networks to recommend products to friends. Many also use social platforms as a sourcing resource – 32% found inspiration to buy via social channels like Facebook or Instagram. A social presence also establishes rapport and credibility with consumers, which can be crucial for building enough confidence in a brand for a customer to buy. A separate report - “Mindset-Driven Purchasing and the Female Shopper” – identified, for example, that 55% of women shopping online, buy from a brand they interact with on social media.
The future of social commerce
Social is so embedded in the lives of millennials that it has relevance right along the buyer journey, from informing decision making about which brand to shop with to creating the simplest and most straightforward path to purchase. While social commerce is still very much a future technology for many retailers, our research found that at least 18% of US and UK consumers are already actively using social media channels to buy products. 74% either agree or “strongly agree” that they will be increasing the use of digital shopping channels in future and 71% are more likely to choose to shop with a retailer that is digitally innovative.
As our research shows, there are significant advantages for retailers in embracing social commerce, especially when it comes to engaging with millennial shoppers. In fact, a social strategy with commerce goals could soon prove essential in driving sales, and brands may find it difficult to be truly competitive without taking the social commerce leap.