The Art of Social Shopping

It doesn’t seem long since advertising was first launched on our favourite social networking sites (amidst some furore) and now, many are going one step further by launching the option for consumers to buy products through their platforms. The way consumers shop and adapt to different platforms available, including tablets and mobile, has seen a change in the way retailers sell as we start to see an increase in social-commerce we ask; ‘Will social shopping be the future of retail?’

Many of the popular social networking sites including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube are heading into the realms of social shopping, by adding buy buttons. Keen to make the most of consumers social media usage retailers are offer the option for products to be purchased via social networking sites with a simple click and with some, not even taking you out of the platform.

Social shopping

AppsFacebook is launching the Buy Button which will allow users to shop from the social networking site without ever having to leave. Currently this feature is only being tested with a handful of retailers, but we can expect it to be fully rolled out in the future as other social networks roll out their own.

Meanwhile Pinterest has launched their Buyable Pins, items for sale to iOS users, which you can buy through Pinterest will feature a blue price tag. You now have the option to purchase with a ‘Buy it’ button alongside the ‘Pin it’ button. However only one purchase is allowed at a time.

Social photography app Instagram has also unveiled a shopping button. Coming 2 years after they first featured advertisers on the app, users can now press a ‘Shop Now’ button which will take them outside their app directly to the product to make a purchase.

Not being left behind social buying is something Twitter have also been testing for some while with buy buttons, alongside Burberry and Home Depot, following on from their previous social buying options with Amazon; #AmazonCart in the US and #AmazonBasket in the UK.

Google are also getting in on the social shopping game with their YouTube ads. They have announced a shopping feature within YouTube called TrueView which allows users to get more information on products and click to buy with-in video ads.

Is social shopping really the way forward?

According to Statista as of March 2015 there were 1,415 million active users on Facebook, 300 million active users on Instagram, 288 million active users on Twitter, whilst Pinterest was the fastest independently launched site to reach 10 million unique monthly visitors. These user and visitor figures gives some indication to the possibility of target audiences for retailers looking to offer social shopping on these platforms, not to mention future possibilities of social sites including WhatsApp, Tumblr and Snapchat to offer similar services.

Retailer social networks

As we can see social networking is big business, new social sites launch all the time, some more successful than others, with this in mind a number of fashion retailers launched social fashion apps, allowing users to shop straight from these apps. Rather than mobile app versions of their websites, they have created portals for people to get inspiration, see other users outfits, and a general social and shopping presence all from a smartphone.


How social is intertwined on the customer journey

Whether people realise it or not, their social media use affects the way they view products and shop online, from brand recognition to emotional feelings tied to places or products. Purchase journey on mobile and tablet devices has been streamlined to allow consumers to easily find what they want and buy with mobile friendly websites and shopping apps.

Mobile Purchase

The key stages of the online mobile purchase journey

The customer journey can be adapted to mobile and tablet devices, tying in social media and apps as well as mobile friendly websites.

Awareness – Recognising the need via social media updates from favourite retailers or in app advertisement such as promoted Tweets and Sponsored Facebook posts increasing awareness of brands.

Consideration – Searching for information, looking at the content marketing and evaluating the alternatives on apps and mobile websites helps us decide if we want to purchase, generating feelings of want through creative content and imagery.

Purchase – Using social media to ask opinions from other users and using apps and mobile websites to purchase products all with a couple of clicks.

Retention – Post Purchase Advocacy on social media using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snap Chat to share purchase and recommend to followers.

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