Social shopping went from being a pipe dream resting on clunky buy buttons to being mainstream. Today 25% of business owners are selling through Facebook, and the trend of marketers using social platforms to directly sell to users is only growing. The platforms are getting better about how advertisers can directly sell to their users, and the appetite for businesses to directly sell on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and others isn’t going anywhere.
Social shopping’s in the midst of a renaissance. After years of trial-and-error, failed experiments like Facebook storefronts and less-than-impressive implementations of buy buttons, we may finally have it.
Social Shopping’s Here Because It’s Seamless
Social shopping is now part of a seamless experience. Businesses can tag up to five products in a single Instagram post, letting users tap to see product descriptions and pricing information before going to the brand website to make a purchase. Users move from lust to conversion quickly and easily.
Moving users quickly from inspiration to action is something Pinterest has done as well with shoppable pins. Users browsing on the website can see something that inspires them and take action to scratch that inspirational itch.
Beyond that, dynamic ads are allowing businesses to sync up their product catalogs with programmatic ads featuring items they’re most likely to buy. Inventory is being tied to ads, putting machine learning in the driver's seat.
Augmented Reality is Meeting Reality
Experience a product in your home through augmented reality? That was science fiction five years ago. Now, it’s commonplace with AR Lenses. Snapchat’s monetizing its 70 million daily Lens users by serving up ads that feature videos and other creative. From those ads, users can swipe up and enter an augmented reality experience the lets then try a product on for size, at least to the degree augmented reality will allow. Users don't need to imagine what life would be like with a product. They can see it.
Users Can Stay Where They Are
Social shopping once required a handoff between the social platform and the brand website, but now, most of the shopping experience can happen within each social platform. Users aren’t being asked to stop what they’re doing, go somewhere else, learn more and then decide whether or not to make a purchase. Users can get all of the information they need within Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat. Once they’re committed to making a purchase, they can go to the website but not before.
Direct Response has Found Its Footing
Social was once relegated to reach and awareness, and while it certainly still plays that role, it’s no longer a one-trick pony. Sales are being made through social channels. Social shopping’s actually happening… finally.