Is social media commerce the answer to battling the high street blues?
Following news from The British Retail Consortium (BRC) that retail sales fell for the first time in 25 years in 2019, there has never been more of a critical time than now for senior leaders to rethink their business models.
Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO at Socialbakers, comments on the growing popularity of social commerce, and how turning to these e-commerce features will be instrumental for retailers to win consumer hearts and drive sales.
“With the BRC reporting the worst sales year in history, retailers need to be changing tack and investing more in engaging with their online audiences. Those retailers that embrace social media and aren’t afraid to experiment with new platforms and technologies are the ones most likely to stay ahead of trends and drive their business forward." - Yuval Ben-Itzhak.
As more and more of the brick and mortar stores on the UK high street are closing, the trend towards online shopping has never been more evident. We see clear signs that social commerce is taking off as more and more customers make purchases directly from social media platforms instead of heading to a brand's online store or high street outlet after discovering a product on social media. According to Socialbakers data, shopping-related content - including shopping experiences leveraging VR - is rapidly proliferating on social media. And platforms are responding by adding more e-commerce features.
Instagram already launched Instagram Shopping for selected brands, giving businesses an immersive storefront for people to discover and explore products as well as a link for purchases. Facebook's family of applications -- WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook Groups -- already offers tools for customer care and community management so that all marketing funnel activity -- from product discovery to post-purchase customer care and evangelism -- can happen on social media. And TikTok recently opened the door to social commerce with beta tests that let influencers embed social commerce links in videos on the app.
Large consumer brands in beauty, fashion, e-commerce, and auto leaned into influencer marketing in 2019 and found that their efforts drove business and moved the needle. Leading brands like Estee Lauder, Hugo Boss and Burberry have explicitly stated that they believe influencer marketing is playing a key role in driving their success.
It is clear that 2020 could be the year that social commerce takes off and will be one way for retailers to battle the high street blues.