Recent research shows that millennials and Gen Zers are turning more and more to "social shopping" over traditional retail experiences. As a result, brick-and-mortar retailers are in a frenzy as they're being forced to rethink their marketing strategies going into the biggest shopping season of the year.
When we refer to “social shopping,” we’re talking about the idea of leveraging the unique aspects of social media to support e-commerce sales. Users who engage in social shopping interact with brands on social platforms, where they’ll share content with friends and even generate their own while tagging brands.
Over the years, both sectors of the industry have evolved together to create what feels like the holy grail of marketing: creating a truly integrated brand experience where fans are made into customers. As we approach the holiday shopping season, here's some advice for those retailers that might be newcomers to social media:
Know Your Audience
Leverage metrics to make informed decisions. It’s important to ensure that you’re actually talking to the people you think you’re talking to. Clients are often surprised to discover that their target demo in-store may not reflect what their web and social analytics are telling them.
Know Your Tools
Each channel comes with its own unique tools that can help you sell, so make sure to start by understanding what each channel has to offer. Instagram offers a “Buy Now” button, for example, while Pinterest has its own tools. Not only will these tools help you sell through on social, but using them will keep your brand up-to-date on the latest trends in social shopping.
The idea of social shopping is most poignant when applied to brands that sell both online and in-store. Such businesses are able to best leverage social media by treating it as a marketing channel and just one of the many ways they’ll interact with a customer along their journey to purchase. Bonobos is a great example of a brand that truly understands how to use social media effectively and seamlessly with e-commerce and the overall brand experience. For example, the men's clothing brand posts frequently (at least once a day) on Instagram, balancing its content themes between product, lifestyle and user-generated content.
When a user crosses over to bonobos.com, they’ll be met with the same look and feel as they’ve experienced on social and the same will be true of their in-store experience. In short, Bonobos clearly respects that social media and e-commerce are just two of its channels and that all their channels should collectively be addressed as part of the customer’s journey and experience with the brand.
Grace Moshfegh is the CEO and Partner of Superdigital, a Boston-based digital agency specializing in all things social.
Related story: Retailers Must Be Social This Holiday Season