Top Social Media Retail Trends Heading into 2017
By Megan Lierley
It’s no secret that the more places people can interact with your brand, the more sales you’ll make and customers you’ll acquire. Since more than 84 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. browse, research, or compare products using a web browser or mobile app, social media platforms and retailers are getting smart about how to convert mobile traffic into paying customers. Here are some social media trends retailers should watch out for as we head into the New Year.
While this feature is currently only available to 20 U.S.-based brands, it’s an important one to watch as it makes it simple for consumers to browse and shop products, while allowing brands to create more customized and targeted ad experiences.
The feature allows users to tap a photo and instantly see the names and prices of up to five products. They can click any of the products to see more information and with one more click, can shop the product. Ryan McIntyre, CEO of JackThreads, one of the 20 test-brands, said, “This test is going to change the scope of what we, as retailers, are capable of offering on mobile. Instead of having to transition to the JackThreads app, our customers will be able to shop seamlessly from their social media feeds—allowing us to reach guys when they’re already hunting for what’s new.”
Snapchat (…and you don’t have to buy ads)
Devotees of the disappearing-photo-app spend more, according to a recent survey. Users between the ages of 13 and 34 spend more on retail categories including clothing (55 percent more), accessories (+10 percent), shoes (+36 percent), and health/beauty (+17 percent) than non-Snapchat users. For brands targeting Gen Z and Millennials, it’s foolish to ignore Snapchat as a means of engaging your current brand loyalists and getting in front of potential customers.
While larger brands like Michael Kors and Foot Locker are buying ads, there are other ways smaller brands can get involved with the app’s user base. Brands like Birchbox engage customers with in-app calls to action. In a recent ‘Snapchat Story,’ they prompted viewers to take a screenshot if they had received a sample of a certain dry shampoo. Since the team can see anyone who screenshots a Snapchat through the app, they’re able to track who is watching their Snapchats, as well as customer reactions to certain products. Additionally, they’ve added vanity URLs that allow them to see when customers screenshot and then manually type in the URL they’ve provided.
Social messaging selling
For retailers using Shopify who have a Facebook business page, social selling and communicating with your customers just got a lot easier. With this integration, customers now have a “Shop Now” option when they start a conversation with the business via Facebook messenger. A Shopify bot makes product catalogs and pricing available within Messenger. Customers can click ‘buy now’ which takes them directly to checkout. Once an item is purchased from Messenger, your team can communicate directly with the customer, answering any questions and providing order tracking information. Enabling customers to shop and engage with your brand directly from where they already are is another way social media is making buying seamless for consumers.
There are certainly challenges in marketing to the ever-connected customer and while it can be difficult to keep up with the social media landscape, it’s also engendered a sense of community between retailers and their customers. As these communities grow—and they will in 2017—opportunities will only increase for you to grab the attention of new shoppers with social media, while also fostering customer loyalty.