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Social Shopping in 2018

Social shopping has been on trend for a while now and according the Hootsuite the social media trend continues. As of April 2018, social media outlets had over 3.03 billion active users in a world with 7.6 billion people. That means that almost 50% of the world population can be reached through social media. That power is definitely not to be taken lightly; however, just because these consumers can be reached, it does not mean conversions will be easy.

Recently Instagram launched their shopping bag icon on certain brands’ Instagram Stories. This shopping bag feature was first introduced in 2017, for select retailers on their posts. Instagram noticed that over 300 million users watch stories daily and 33% say that they are more interested in a product or brand as a result. Therefore, Instagram decided to capitalize on this data and introduce shopping bags on stories in order to allow for marketers to take advantage of impulse buying as well as purchase experience.

Many other social outlets, such as Pinterest and Snapchat, have tried and successfully integrated ecommerce into their platform. Unfortunately, there have been continued issues with the ecommerce capabilities and conversion rates. In a study done by GumGum, researchers found that 91% of Instagram users have never bought anything directly from Instagram and that percentage is even higher for Snapchat and Pinterest. So if these shopping “channels” are not currently working, how do marketers utilize them correctly?

The answer is in the sales funnel. The traditional sales funnel follows the ideas of awareness, opinion, consideration, preference and then purchase. Traditional social media outlets only focus on certain aspects of this funnel. Instagram, for example, is a great awareness builder. Instagram can be used to recommend new brands and introduce new products to millions of people in an extremely efficient and cost effective way. By Instagram introducing the shopping bag, they are also addressing the purchase part of this funnel. They are giving users a quick way to shop for the products they see and like. The issue with this is that by just relying on Instagram retailers are hoping that users will jump directly from awareness to purchase without any prior consideration or research. This, put simply, is not realistic.

McKinsey suggests that the traditional sales funnel is not created for the new age of digital marketing. This funnel concept was created in the 1800s before there was even internet, much less ecommerce and social media. Thus, McKinsey introduced the “Circular Decision Set” that is structured around the path of social shopping. They believe that the circular goes through the following motions, 1. Initial Consideration, 2. Active Evaluation, 3. Moment of Purchase, 4. Post purchase experience and then the final step would be the loyalty loop that brings this all back together.

This type of decision making process leverages the awareness that consumers experience through media channels. This journey also recognizes that consumers will look into multiple brands while adding and subtracting them to their list. McKinsey found that 2/3rd of the touch points during the active-evaluation phase involved customer driven marketing. This means that customers were consulting reviews, past experiences and word of mouth to make the majority of their decisions. This is where social can play a huge role.

Ultimately, social media gives people a platform to openly discuss products and speak to their brand experiences. In order for digital marketers to capitalize on the success of these eCommerce capabilities it is important for them to spread goodwill and build brand recognition through the various social platforms and virtual world(s). For more information about how to implement a working social shopping strategy, please contact out skilled team here or call us at (415) 351-2227

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