Time for chit chat
2016 was a year in which marketing over social media came of age. With a greater proportion of shoppers in the UK now connected to social networks, it’s imperative that retailers take advantage of this considerable chunk of the market. In 2017, this looks to become still more so.
Social shopping affords customers the chance to share their retail experience with their peers, and fulfils a fundamental human desire for validation. In many respects, social shopping aims to ape the rewarding nature of walking into a real store with some friends and making a purchase.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which the trend might gain additional traction in 2017
When millennial shoppers make purchases online, they’re often informed by their interactions with other customers. And this is also true, albeit to a lesser extent, of older customers. If you’re going to buy a new monitor for a computer, for example, you might visit forums and YouTube videos populated by experts and enthusiasts, and effectively collaborate with them on the purchasing decision.
Social shopping takes this collaboration to the next level; by browsing a product feed curated specifically for you, you’ll be sure that the items you’re considering are popular with other users. This helps to reduce the likelihood that you’re unwittingly taking a leap into the dark with an unproven product.
With social networks now an integral part of our daily routine, they’re familiar and trusted. This familiarity fosters trust which can make the difference when it comes to conversions. What’s more, rather than simply including a link to the shop, where the user will be forced to go to the trouble of filling a basket and entering addressing details, social shopping allows users to get to the checkout directly from their feed. Facebook’s implementation of a ‘buy’ button allows users to make an impulse purchase in a matter of moments. Instagram has now also recently launched shopping functionality into their application, which yields much the same benefit.
One of the cardinal virtues of a presence on social media is that it allows users to quickly interact with other customers and sales reps. This offers online shops a means of connecting directly with their customers, and thus influencing how a customer might feel about the brand. The influence on a purchasing decision exerted by a person’s emotions is often extremely underrated, and savvy branding in 2017 will undoubtedly seek to make products part of a lifestyle. A great example of this sort of success was Coca-cola’s #ShareaCoke campaign of a few years back, which saw millions of people share a picture of a bottle of coke with their name on it – providing the company with enormous amounts of priceless marketing, at zero cost. Smaller campaigns of this sort are undoubtedly what will help push social shopping forward in 2017.
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