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The Future of Social Shopping

In 2019, social shopping is not just another buzzworthy trend; it’s also a new way for ecommerce brands to sell their products online. Since around two-thirds of modern customers are receptive to recommendations from family and friends when shopping, it’s no wonder that people use social media platforms to discover new products, read customer reviews, and buy goods in-app.

Whether you run a profitable ecommerce business or you’re just about to start an online business, creating a seamless shopping experience without social media platforms isn’t an option. The facts speak for themselves:

More and more customers turn to social media for product discovery and they are ready to buy in-app. All in all, social shopping is gaining popularity at a rapid pace.

So, what’s on the horizon for social shopping in the nearest future?

Increasing Popularity of In-App Purchases

Long gone are the days when social media platforms were just used for sharing photos and messaging with friends. According to a Dive report, 72% of Instagrammers say that they have made purchases after seeing something on the platform, which means customers would like to buy in-app. Since followers use social media platforms to find new products, customers buying directly from social media stores save time and make impulse purchases.

Big companies know the power of in-app purchases. Let’s take Nike, for example. Like most large companies, Nike keeps up with social media marketing trends to cut through the clutter on the largest social media platforms. Not surprisingly, the company has optimized Facebook for in-app purchases:

The company has a Facebook shop and tags products that appear in their photos. Once followers see product tag icons, they can click on them to get more information about the featured products, including the name, description, and price. Potential customers can discover products and buy them without leaving the social network.

And here’s how Nike uses Instagram to let customers make purchases in-app:

With the growing demand for in-app shopping, it’s no wonder that large social media platforms have rolled out business-specific features that help to sell products without leaving the network. People will continue to buy more on social media in the future, which means companies need to try out these features.

Customers Crave More Social Proof

Modern customers are tired of overly-promotional ads that sound too good to be true. Looking for authenticity, customers want to find social proof when choosing which brand to trust.

With the growth of social media, it’s easier for customers to read real customer reviews while surfing their favorite networks. Social media users are happy to share their feedback with others, so they leave a review on platforms even if they don’t follow your brand. For potential customers, this means an opportunity to get a genuine review of a product or service.

Around 70% of customers use social media to read authentic customer reviews before choosing a particular brand and making a purchase decision. Just take a look at the number of likes one Facebook review of Hyatt Regency in Orlando got:

Hyatt Regency took this review as an opportunity to show that they care about their existing and potential customers. Even though the review is positive, the company has found time to write several sentences to comment on the situation. As a result, the reply got approval from other followers.

Growing Trust in Nano-Influencers

In the era of sponsored posts, customers know that influencers and celebrities make money promoting products on social media. Since consumers don’t want to rely on paid ads, it’s no surprise that 70% of people are influenced by family members or friends online. Thus, nano-influencers bring more value to brands these days.

Having less than 5,000 followers, nano-influencers have a more niche following around a particular topic. As these influencers are focused on something specific, followers trust them more than bigger influencers when seeking recommendations. Luckily for brands, influencers with smaller followings are open to collaboration with big and small companies in order to monetize their social media expertise.

For example, Dunkin’ works with millennial nano-influencers to improve their social media engagement as part of their “coffee-first” strategy and it sees decent results. One post from Lauren Schneider, a nano-influencer with more than 1,300 followers, received 121 likes and 32 comments within 17 hours after the following post:

Since the company wants to target a specific niche in the market, they can leverage the trust nano-influencers have with their followers to reach a new audience.  Dunkin’ can more seamlessly spread the word about their products within small communities.

In some instances, working with nano-influencers is an affordable way for brands to promote their products or services without a large financial investment as some nano-influencers will exchange promotional posts for freebies.

Augmented Reality Plays a Bigger Role

For 56% of customers, it’s crucial to see and touch products before ordering them online. When shoppers are wary about committing to purchasing online, they will often go to a physical store to make sure they’re making the right decision.

To combat this, augmented reality (AR) is one of the marketing trends that’s helping to improve social shopping.

Believe it or not, augmented reality can enhance the customer experience. Around 70% of customers expect retailers to launch an AR app although two-thirds of companies don’t use AR at all.

However, big brands believe in the power of augmented reality trends, so they’ve jumped on the bandwagon to make the most out of this trend.

In honor of the Deerupt Sneaker launch, Adidas Originals used augmented reality to hint at what potential customers can get without showing the product off. With the help of influencers, including Kendall Jenner, the company caused a buzz around the Deerupt sneakers, giving users a first feel of the product itself.

Augmented reality can help ecommerce brands increase sales as it improves the shopping experience in a creative way. Take the Shoppable AR Lens feature on Snapchat. Customers can also try out products to understand whether they will fit or not. When you provide a more engaging experience, your customers are more likely to spread the word about your product with friends and family.

Ephemeral Content Drives Ecommerce Sales

The concept of ephemeral content isn’t new on social media. In 2013, Snapchat introduced Stories, the idea of “disappearing content.” As the name suggests, this content vanishes within 24 hours, which creates the fear of missing out (FOMO) effect.

Since ephemeral content has increased the amount of time people spend on social media from 15 to more than 32 minutes a day, it’s a great way to cut through the noise and hook your target audience.

When it comes to social shopping, ephemeral content helps boost ecommerce sales. To promote their first-ever a three-day online sale, J&Co Jewellery ran Instagram Stories ads that resulted in 58% of total sales. The success of this campaign was based on the sense of urgency  – users were afraid of missing out on something beneficial:

Whatever your business is, you can get started with Instagram Stories to drive business results. Offer a time-limited deal, promote a product launch, announce a mid-season sale, etc.

Final Note

Modern customers are increasingly looking for product recommendations on social media. Incorporating social shopping into your strategy with the right ecommerce marketing tools can improve their customer journey and drive more ecommerce sales. As the era of social shopping continues to boom, brands have a unique opportunity to use their customers’ favorite networks to increase their reach and strengthen their relationships with their customers.

Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist behind MC2 project who has over six years of digital marketing experience. Being fond of social media platforms, Hugh also helps SMBs use Instagram and Facebook to promote their products online. To stay tuned for more, follow him on Twitter.