Social Media Meets eCommerce with Shoppable Content
In the digital landscape, and particularly in social media, we use content to tell stories and build relationships that help paint a pretty vivid and aspirational image of the product or services being sold. However, until relatively recently, the link between content-based storytelling and direct sales on e-commerce has been tenuous at best.
That is, until the advent of shoppable content.
Also called shoppable posts, shoppable content is, quite literally, content that sells. Using social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it connects storytelling content with the immediate action (and gratification) of a direct-buying opportunity. In short, consumers are introduced to a product, enticed to buy it, and able to purchase it all within the span of a few quick clicks.
Unlike advertisements, which explicitly invite or direct a consumer to “buy” or “save,” shoppable posts take a subtler approach, relying on non-abrasive messaging, the power of brand influence, and the subconscious associations that consumers make between a product and their own identity.
And, in 2020, leveraging shoppable content in social media should be part of your ecommerce marketing efforts.
Why Shoppable Content Works
Traditional online platforms do not allow consumers to act, or to buy, on impulse. Even in popular content formats like blogs and digital publications, a consumer will usually have to take several steps in order to exit the content and reach an area where they can make a purchase.
This experience can be jarring and can discourage a reader’s decision to buy a product. Shoppable content allows the reader to stay engaged with the content while making a direct purchasing decision simultaneously, and with minimal effort. However, convenience isn’t the only benefit.
Limiting the number of steps a consumer has to take to make a purchasing decision leads to higher conversion rates. Shoppable posts also make it much easier for brands to measure content-specific conversions. Because users remain engaged with the content, shoppable posts naturally create opportunities to foster deeper connections between brand and consumer, giving marketers an undeniably competitive sales advantage.
Types of Content to Explore
With over 80% of consumers making an online purchasing decision each month, it isn’t difficult to understand why the presence of shoppable posts has increased on many social platforms. While they can be incorporated in almost any type of interactive online content, there are some popular posting formats:
Product photos are a powerful resource for e-commerce, and they can be even more impactful if they include shoppable tags. When clicked, these tags bring users to either a pop-up window or a product page with direct buying options. These tags can be easily incorporated into your brand’s featured photos or digital banners.
Video is arguably the most powerful storytelling medium for brands. With the demand for video content on the rise, it would be a waste to not utilize the opportunity to incorporate shoppable content. This is accomplished by embedding hotspots, or product links into the video itself, presenting viewers with an option to “Click to Shop” for the products featured throughout, or to continue watching to see additional products. These links or CTAs can also appear again at the end of the video for added linking opportunities.
Major social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram followed the trend of shoppable posts rather quickly, incorporating them into their feeds and posting options. Brands can embed product links into their posts which take users to a company page, allowing them to make in-app buying decisions while they scroll through their content feeds. Instagram even has a guide for businesses that are interested in setting up in-app shopping capabilities.
Interactive content is favored by consumers for a number of reasons, and quizzes are no exception. Creating a product-specific quiz mimics the experience of having a personal shopper and puts consumers in control of their informed buying decisions. With a series of short questions, brands lead individual consumers on a self-guided tour of product offerings that culminates in a personalized recommendation. A simple addition of an “Add to Cart” button on the results page or a link to the product page on your site makes the buyer’s journey that much more efficient and their decision that much easier.
Add This to Your Cart
At the end of the day, what makes shoppable content exciting for digital marketers is that it allows for a great deal of creativity while directly tying to revenue generated. In particular, if you have an e-commerce presence, it’s a great option for you and your brand to leverage the social content that you (hopefully) are already creating.
As always, if you’d like a little help with strategizing, creating or executing a content strategy that includes shoppable posts, the social and digital team at ZG is happy to help!