Recently, our ever-knowledgeable Data Scientist, Lizzy Wilkins and I presented digital trends forecasted for 2015 to the agency. Coinciding with each trend, we offered our professional, and dare I say personal, opinions on the legitimacy of each one. While the gif-filled presentation was more of a gut check, a few predictions got us thinking. Of course, there were those obvious ones like: QR codes are out (you don’t say?), and the rise of mobile; but what really inspired conversations were the technologies not yet perfected by marketers, and not yet adopted by consumers. One new trend in particular that is on the rise was social commerce.
For those wondering what I’m talking about when I say “Social Commerce,” it essentially is the marriage of e-commerce functionality with social media, allowing customers to never have to leave a social platform to purchase a product they see and want. Although a little dated, Business Insider and Mashable provide easily digestible explanations.
The rise of Social Commerce
While highly adopted in the East, there are a few reasons why we argue Americans will not quickly adopt this technology. One – privacy is still a number one concern and barrier-to-entry. Still, it is proven that the effect of privacy concerns is not a major influence on actual intent to purchase.
In 2014, both Facebook and Twitter announced that they were going to begin testing new ways in which users can buy directly on the platform with a “Buy button”. Although an exciting breakthrough, announcements from both channels lead us to believe there is a ways to go before the official rollout. (Source)
Due to these barriers concerning privacy and technology, we concluded that we are going to continue to monitor trends in social commerce by keeping an eye on the little steps other platforms are making toward perfecting how buyers can more easily purchase the products they desire. (Source)
As a self-proclaimed shopping aficionado, I have been eager to see those little steps and breakthroughs being made within the digital space. The ease of not only buying what you want, but knowing where to buy what you want is almost unfair…almost. I first got my wish of knowing where I can buy my favorite celebrity frocks when Who What Wear launched. Voila! I now had a central hub for knowing where to find that amazing bag I saw Sarah Jessica Parker toting around NYC. Since then, bloggers have made it even easier to get their look by providing links to purchase each article of their outfit, and in-turn shrinking my disposable income. Shoppable video takes the technology even further, allowing users to shop looks from an ad or short video just by clicking on the product. Most recently, a platform launched that not only allowed me to identify where to purchase looks I love, but allowed me to do it from my favorite social platform – Instagram.
LiketoKnow.it is a tool integrated with Instagram that allows you to shop looks from your Instagram feed. The tool links your Instagram account and email address, providing a personalized and private shopping experience. All you have to do is sign up the LiketoKnow.it website, and “like” any photo on Instagram with the link www.liketk.it in the caption. You are then sent an email that provides links to buy every product or article of clothing in the Instagram image you liked. With Instagram being a hotspot for fashionistas around the world – this technology is the perfect launching pad for social commerce on a simple, easy-to-use app.
All these small breakthroughs are perhaps the culmination of what catapulted digital marketers to think outside of the box. Yes – you can click a link to be taken somewhere else to buy a product – but how much easier would it be if customers didn’t even have to leave the site they are on? I personally am excited to see where this technology will go into the future, and encourage marketers to be prepared.