Tomorrow's retail is not about online and offline channels but about experience. A notion that is part and parcel of the "Smart Phygital" concept. And, what could be better than social media to share a few moments spent with a retailer? Absolutely nothing! All the more so as social media audiences are constantly growing.
Today, over 3 billion people around the globe are connected!
A French retail chain recently hit the headlines by using word play and social media to promote its products. Monoprix, a leading city-centre chain, revamped Little Red Riding Hood via a Twitter thread, a format which was unheard of just a few months ago. A great success and an incredible buzz!
Extend the experience over all social media
Today, brands' priority is to be where purchasers spend more and more of their time, i.e. on social media. On average, French internet users spend 1 hour 22 minutes every day on these digital channels. On Facebook alone, there are some 38 million active French users per month. Impossible to rule out this potential audience! And, even more so as last year, Facebook launched Marketplace, social media which offers members the opportunity to buy and sell items directly via the FB interface. Social media is somewhat akin to "retail-media". Instagram, which totals some 14 million active monthly users, illustrates this even more so. Brands and chains quickly cottoned on to the fact that Instagram would be key to their retail sales strategies.
Hence, the tendency to create "Instagrammable stores"
Translation: Instagram-ready. Today, product staging is increasingly aimed at offering customers the possibility to take photos and selfies. Likewise, sales spaces are designed in line with Instagram style codes and social media culture.
At the same time, this triggers more engagement: by sharing photos snapped in a same place, customers become ambassadors for a brand and for a lifestyle which they embrace. Distributors no longer need to advertise their brands as consumers do it for them by talking on Instagram about brands they like. Their "engagement" is always backed up by an in-situ visual.
This trend is particularly perceptible in the interior design sector, as illustrated by French furniture brand Maisons du Monde, which counts over a million "decor lover" followers. It encourages it consumers with competitions and tutorials to motivate them even further, prompting them to purchase online or in-store.
Instagram intends to go a step further in its exchanges
In March, it launched a "shop" feature and button where brands can tag their products and invite customers to purchase instantly.
Follow the millennials who set the trends
Anticipating is a 'must': brands and chains need to tailor to the up-and-coming generation which is more spontaneous and more tuned into youtubing and Instagramming. It needs to keep moving, creating novel experiences, at all times! And this is where it draws its inspiration. For example, the majority of Instagram users are under the age of 25 and spend 35 minutes a day on the app.
If we look at the pecking order on social networks, friends and peers carry more weight than media itself. Against a backdrop where high demand is placed on consumers' attention, it's vital to be a trendsetter
Here too, it's no longer the brands and chains which fix the rules but the influencers
Influencers are THE first point of contact for reaching consumers.
Enhance visibility 24/7, 365 days a year
Sparking a buzz to promote a brand is great. Doing it on a daily basis is even better. And, that's where social media excels: it's open 24/7, every day of the year. Naturally triggering ongoing chats. This enables Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVB) such as Tediber (bedding), Horace (cosmetics for men) and Le Slip Français (clothing), to gain extensive coverage. Acknowledgement which makes them well enough known to allow them to establish themselves as physical networks to boost the experiential aspect of purchasing.
Moral: regardless of whether the brand is a major corporate or an emerging start-up, social media has become a 'must-use' media for recruiting and engaging consumers.
Source : 2018 Annual Digital Report of the latest digital and social media trends in the world drawn up by Hootsuite and the We Are Social agency.