Retail brands took a heavy hit in 2020. The pandemic year forcibly changed habits, and created new challenges for retailers and brands that were reliant on physical retail locations. The year that we’re all hoping will be quick to forget forced further growth in eCommerce, which increased by 35% vs 2019.
Its a shift that looks to stick too. According to data from Kantar, 40% of pepole are now more willing to shop online in 2021, forcing marketers to reconsider their strategies when targeting potential customers.
So what does all of this mean for brands operating their online presences? We take a closer look at the new ways we are choosing to shop online in 2021, and outline the ways in which content can be put to work in new ways to engage your brand’s customers.
Bridge the experience gap.
In the battle of bricks vs clicks, physical retail always had an experiential ace up its sleeve in its in-store experiences. For those that preferred to touch and feel products as part of the purchase journey had the opportunity to do so. However, with fears of personal safety still resonant following the pandemic year, even the most fervent shoppers are considering whether they should stay home and buy online instead.
For these customers in particular, detail and a deep understanding of the product is still incredibly important. One route to delivering this for customers online is through the production of detailed content which goes beyond simple photography, offering those missing the up-close approach an opportunity to scrutinise potential purchases.
By investing in content that highlights particular products, you have the opportunity to add layers of storytelling which adds richness to the product, demonstrating how it fits into the life of your target customer. Even better, by personalising content to unique segments, you can show the same product in new ways to increase chances of conversion online.
Personalise experiences on the fly.
As well as pro-actively providing product content with adequate depth, brands looking to go a step further could look into livestreaming opportunities when sharing details of products, or in contributing to the hype around new launches.
Live commerce is already a huge phenomenon in China, where over 900 live-streaming sites sell over RMB 916Bn in goods each year. It is a trend that is being trialled by brands in Europe too, where streaming platforms built into Facebook and YouTube are being used to sell to customers who tune in live. By moving to live strategies, brands have an opportunity to create unique offers and experiences to those that tune in, adding an element of exclusivity as a reward to those customers that choose to engage.
For brands looking to take advantage of in-app shopping experiences, live streaming can prove a particularly engaging route to selling to emergent youth customer segments. With 58% of centennials choosing social media and forums as their primary purchase research method, it makes sense to create experiences that will attract their attention on platforms that are native to them.
Collaborate to win Social Commerce
At the end of 2020, Instagram launched its shopping reels feature. The new creative format, which aims to go toe-to-toe with TikTok, enables influencers and creators the chance to tag products within their short videos. This new feature builds upon Instagrams ecommerce integrations, which 60% of people say they use to discover new products, and offers brands a new route to sharing engaging content with their fans on the platform. With this feature being so new, innovative brands with engaged Instagram followings have an opportunity to be first-movers in this space and capitalise on the opportunity of selling natively.
For youth markets heavily engaged on its rival’s app, TikTok, there are similar integrations slowly making their way into the platform. Levi’s ran the first creator led partnership to promote its new line of laser-customisable denim, and it reported that it was achieving double the average view times and significant engagement from 16-24 year old customers. Again, the key here was in creating moving content that highlighted the features of this innovative new product, selling to customers who were unable to see it for themselves in store.
The key ingredient.
The fundamental key to success here is building a library of great content, and plenty of it. A content led strategy will act as a conduit, matching your products to your target customer, crucially, in a way that speaks to them.
Unsure about where to begin? Get in touch with a member of the Even team and we can guide you through all the necessary steps, from defining an audience aligned strategy, through to content delivery.