The opportunity in ecommerce has never been bigger – or more important – to retailers.
The pandemic has been changing behaviours and accelerating trends across the globe, including online shopping. While adoption had steadily been increasing, retailers have seen a big jump this year. On average 85% of people globally are spending more time shopping online, according to a Q4 report from Merkle, and experts predict this trend will continue.
As we approach the end of the year, with Singles Day (11 November), Black Friday (27 November), Cyber Monday (30 November), UAE National Day (2 December) and Christmas (25 December) all on the horizon, retailers are heading into a pivotal sales period. Connecting with the right customers through your marketing activity – and driving them to your ecommerce sites – will ensure you can maximise this opportunity. Helping to offset the impact of store closures and supply issues suffered throughout the year.
Another trend accelerated this year is our use of smartphones and social media. Mobile usage has increased by an average of one hour per day during COVID-19 and 58% of consumers now visit a brand’s social media pages before visiting their website. Social is the new front.
Marketers need to meet their customers where they are to optimise their marketing budget. Mobile ad engagement has increased 15% during the pandemic and interactions with sponsored posts reached 57 million in July compared to March 2020, a rise of 5x.
As we approach this pivotal sales period, brands need to focus on a marketing strategy that converts and social advertising that allows marketers to streamline a customer’s path to purchase. Driving them to action at the moment inspiration strikes and converting them with just a couple of taps. Here’s how.
#1 Influencer reviews
87% of shoppers we surveyed said they’d be using online reviews to inform their Christmas shopping decisions this year. So while consumers are willing to spend more – and presumably try new products – they are careful about how they’re spending money. Social influencers can offer the guidance they seek and help them shop with confidence.
Marketers should look to influencers to review their products and services in this key consideration period. Focus on relevant partnerships with influencers that align with your brand values and ensure that their social following includes a high proportion of your target customers. Choose high-quality content creators who can bring your brand to life in an engaging way. If they’re creating Stories, provide a link so their followers can swipe up to shop and streamline that purchasing journey.
Product reviews, shared with their engaged followings, can be incredibly powerful. Not only in stopping a scroller in their tracks, but converting them to buy. 90% of the consumers we surveyed said ‘yes’ or ‘possibly’ when asked if they’d buy a product following an influencer’s recommendation.
#2 Amplifying influencer content into ads
Organic influencer content is incredibly effective in engaging their followers. But what if you want to extend the reach of your content and target new customers? Boosted posts and Instagram’s Branded Content Ad option allows you to do exactly that.
Instagram’s Branded Content tool allows brands to turn posts that have used the Paid Partnership tag into an ad. That means you can get the best of both worlds, using beautiful influencer content and Facebook’s sophisticated ad-targeting tools. You can target your customers with precision and reach them with that same piece of content – even if they don’t follow your chosen influencer.
If they haven’t used the Paid Partnership tag, you can still ‘boost’ the post with paid media to reach a wider audience. The best thing about both of these ad units is they come optimised with a clear call to action, so you can direct your customers to your ecommerce site with ease and you get access to data on how that each ad has performed.
#3 Use Instagram’s social commerce features
While Instagram provides lots of options to redirect users to an ecommerce site, they have increasingly been exploring conversion tools within their own platform.
The most commonly known are shoppable tags, which can be added to a brand’s post. When tapped, they show the user the price and details of a product. If the checkout feature is enabled, the user can tap through and complete the transaction without ever leaving the app. Earlier this year, Instagram also launched Shops. With this feature, brands can build enticing digital storefronts to promote and sell their products directly on the app.
These features remove friction from the shopping experience. It’s a great way to supercharge the repurposed influencer content you have already generated in step one and two.
Marketing in 2020 has been all about adapting and that trend looks set to continue. Making these changes to your end of year marketing strategy has the power to deliver high returns. Particularly since 84% of the shoppers we surveyed said they planned to spend the same, or more, on Christmas this year, compared to last year. It’s clear the opportunities are there – but like everything else this year – they may just look a little different.