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3 retail-led social media trends for sellers to adapt to in 2019

By Sasha Fedorenko June 5, 2019 - 10:30 am

Social media saw some major developments over the last 12 months, establishing itself as a key part of sellers’ strategies, says new The State of Social Media in Retail 2019 report by Hootsuite.

As it gains more momentum, how can sellers create an authentic seller-buyer relationship—while working within time and budgetary constraints? The report provided three retail-led social media trends for sellers to adapt to in 2019.

This report is based on a survey of 3,255 Hootsuite business customers from a variety of sectors and ranging from large enterprises to small agencies.

Trend 1: Closing the ads gap

The popularity of social ads is seeing new challenges. Prices are increasing and it’s becoming harder to get noticed. According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2018 report, Facebook click-through rate (CTR) costs have increased by 61%, and cost per thousand impressions (CPM) has jumped 112%.

While sellers may be able to pay their way into someone’s news feed, that’s no guarantee that anyone is going to pay attention. What’s the solution? Paid social teams are recognising the importance of pairing ad money with an equivalent investment of time, creativity, and targeting savvy. This amplifies the best performing organic content with paid boosts.

The report says that the likes of online marketplaces eBay and Wish.com, as well as fashion retailer Guess, reported early success with Snapchat’s Shoppable Snap Ads feature, with each of them driving better engagement using this platform compared to Snapchat’s previous ads tool. The new Snapchat tool was launched in October 2018, but these three businesses were able to test it out beforehand—and seemingly experienced commercial benefits.

eBay

Online marketplace eBay was a pioneer in their use of Snapchat’s Shoppable Snap Ads feature, which was rolled out to all brands in October 2018.

As one of the early testers of the tool prior to its official launch, eBay reported five times
better engagement rate with their ads compared to when using the older Snap Ads feature. Available in Snapchat’s Ads Platform, Shoppable Snap Ads give users the opportunity to tap directly to access product details via Snapchat, which paves the way for a quick purchase.

Trend 2: Cracking the commerce code

Visual search functionality on the Snapchat app combined with Amazon’s product listings have fast-tracked the online titan into the social shopping arena. Taking a photo of an item on Snapchat automatically prompts that or similar products from Amazon’s inventory to appear on the screen, paving the way for one-click shopping via social media

How do sellers start incorporating social commerce into their marketing strategy? Finding ways to make shopping live, interactive, and seamless—and mobile—is key.

Change is coming from all angles, it seems. Instagram’s shoppable posts now allow users to go directly from discovery to checkout without ever leaving the app, and the platform has even added a shopping tab to its explore page.

Facebook marketplace

The Facebook marketplace have streamlined the process of listing and selling items on social media and is now used in 70 countries by more than 800 million people.

Video, in particular, is proving a critical bridge for social commerce. In a study of 5,500 consumers by video marketing company BrightCove, 74% of viewers drew a connection between watching a social video and making a purchase.

Trend 3: The dominance of messaging

In 2018, YOOX Net-a-Porter Group said they revamped app—which now provides customer notifications through WhatsApp—has helped mobile-supported sales exceed 50% of total group sales. Missguided, meanwhile, viewed last year’s launch of an official WhatsApp platform as a chance to continue solidifying their reputation.

Being part of the sellers’ WhatsApp group means customers can ensure they are the first to know about all their latest drops, exclusive discounts and style tips via notifications straight to the destination they spend so much of their time.

Top messaging apps—WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ, and Skype—now collectively count nearly five billion monthly active users.

This means that messaging app users can now easily eclipse traditional social network users worldwide. Consumers also are spending more time on messaging and less time-sharing news on social. This shift from public to private spaces is eye-opening for many reasons — not the least of which is the profound impact these changes are having on consumer expectations.

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