Social Media has already transformed consumer expectations of brands
There’s no denying the way people discover and buy things online has dramatically changed and continues to do-so. Only ten years ago we were talking about how online and Google were changing the way people buy. Now as consumer behavior continues to evolve we are seeing the impact of social media on the way people buy.
Without doubt, social has become the strongest trend in consumer behavior, the statistics reflect a seismic shift similar to the way email changed the way we communicate. Last year 2.34 billion people accessed at least one social media account regularly – that’s 32% of the world’s population and includes around 70% of all Australians. Re-cut this data by age into ‘under 40’ and ‘over 40’ and the numbers for young consumers who ritually use social media is astounding. The manner in which Social has become woven into the lives of so many consumers reflects a stunning change in intuitive consumer behavior, and one brands need to pay attention to.
The habits people have formed around Social are fundamentally changing expectations of all their online experiences – particularly their online brand interactions. Visual marketing platform; Curalate has identified the three biggest changes being driven by Social as:
Content is more engaging. Social content is visual, in-the-moment and authentic. Plus it’s filled with beautiful lifestyle imagery showcasing people, landscapes or gorgeous backdrops. Why are brands still releasing traditional product photos shot against a white background?
The experience is intuitive. People expect other sites to function like social sites. On Instagram or Facebook you can tap the photo to reveal the names of people inside of it. In a commerce environment, why can’t you tap an image to reveal the products inside?
Influencers are crucial. Social gave rise to many voices. From your foodie friend on Facebook to the fashionista offering makeup tips on Instagram. Why aren’t brands partnering with those influencers to drive discovery?
Jared Shelly from Curalate writes; “The current landscape presents an interesting business challenge: How do brands capitalize on these changing expectations and use them to modernize consumer experiences in a world where commerce is continuous and ubiquitous, leading consumers to take an increasingly complex path to purchase?
At Curalate, we’re linking moments of discovery to places of purchase. Take Crate and Barrel for example. Consumers might discover the brand on Instagram and immediately want to know what’s inside of those beautiful pictures. Because of Curalate, the consumer can not only get more information but can easily buy the product. But it doesn’t stop at social media. When consumers go to the Crate and Barrel blog, they’re met with content curated by style influencers showing off different looks — and all the imagery is shoppable. When shopping on the Crate and Barrel site, you see compelling images created by consumers, helping you envision how these products will fit into your own life.
Companies that capitalize on the changing consumer expectations are seeing tremendous results. Fashion brand Forever 21 launched Curalate’s Like2Buy product which makes its popular Instagram account shoppable. Within the first two weeks, it brought 38,000 people to their website, and 50% were brand new visitors. Those people stayed on site 24% longer and looked at 19% more web pages.
Sigma Beauty partnered with Curalate to improve its e-commerce experience by complementing stock photos with fan photos. To do so, it implemented Curalate’s Fanreel feature that collects and displays the best user-generated content — featuring lots of varieties of skin tones and makeup combinations. It’s led to a 4x increase in time-on-site and a 16x return on the investment it made to implement the program.
Brands are also applying these concepts to advertising. Take Brazilian shoe maker Schutz for example. In its Facebook Dynamic Ads (which re-target shoppers who had been browsing their products on the web) Schutz started using lifestyle imagery curated and smart cropped by Curalate. The program resulted in a 98x return on ad spend.”
Social media is changing the rules of e-commerce. There’s no doubt the pathway to purchase is becoming even more complicated for brands. “Consumers have come to expect compelling imagery, intuitive experiences and educated voices leading them in the right direction. Brands that transform their marketing strategies will appear authentic and engaging. Those who don’t will be left in the dust” writes Shelly.
David is the founder of Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. David has extensive experience working with corporate, retail, food & beverage and entrepreneurial clients. Find out more at…
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