This unprecedented and accelerated change has brought online brands face-to-face with the need to differentiate themselves in some way. One of the ways of helping users to make their purchase decisions and engaging with them is by merging content with commerce throughout the platforms, offering a clear vision of the role that influencers can play in virtual purchases and in the era of commerce.
Throughout the purchase funnel, influencers can disperse the potential clouds of doubt hanging over the purchase of an online product, ranging from concerns over its reliability, to whether it is ecological or meets certain quality standards, as well as instructions for use, step-by-step tutorials and functional issues.
This means that they can cover the entire spectrum from awareness to conversion, breaking down barriers, fostering trust and creating validation. As skilled creators of content, natural conversation starters and production enhancers, influencers will become increasingly important players in any brand's social media strategy — a must-have in any marketing mix.
As new and improved e-commerce functionalities go mainstream, influencers are often the first to adopt them and perfect the delivery of relevant content at high speed. Also, they're the most skilled at this, finding meaningful ways to resonate with their audiences and enable seamless implementations, able to increase both awareness and conversions. By leveraging communities with a human touch, content created by influencers is more likely to be perceived as authentic by the audience, especially within niche communities, where engagement levels tend to be higher.
Maison Aubele is a clear example: an ideal for beauty enthusiasts and personal image devotees, the influencer and creator Carolina Aubele produces explanatory videos on how to look better, what colors are suitable, what style of clothing works best for each body type, etc. This kind of content helps users to understand the spirit of the brand, differentiating it and its products while providing a tailored, positive experience and clear information on what to expect from online training courses.
Now that content created by influencers can be directly purchased, their power to inspire and move communities can be used in many different ways as part of a full funnel experience, from awareness and purchase consideration, to conversion.
Empowering audiences to shop on their favorite social platforms gives them an accessible way to discover brands. It also helps content marketers looking for new ways to promote a catalog on social media.
Reimagining the store
99% of consumers discover new products thanks to the influencers they follow, and 80% actually make a purchase after seeing it recommended by an influencer.
These are compelling figures, to the point where social and technological platforms have anticipated the growing demand for the seamless integration of content consumption and e-commerce solutions, and are beginning to offer new opportunities for brands to adapt to changing consumer habits.
From the pop-up "Shop" tabs and the Instagram "Checkout" function to the new shopping solutions for Google Shoploop and Amazon Live, the confluence of social content and commerce is evolving rapidly.
The Shop Tab function is designed to help users discover brands and has IGTV recommendations, picks and videos from where you can make a direct purchase.
The Checkout function allows orders and payments to be taken anywhere in the world. After a customer adds products to the cart, they can use the Checkout function to enter their shipping and payment details before placing their order.
Google is also venturing into the world of content shopping. Shoploop sprang from the realization that social media users usually see product reviews on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, yet have to change apps or websites in order to buy the product.
Shoploop offers short TikTok-like videos that focus exclusively on product reviews and tutorials, whose content is produced by real people who know the products. The consumer can save the product to buy later or go directly to the commercial website to complete their purchase.
Amazon is also using livestream to encourage people to buy through Amazon Live. The platform allows sellers to promote their products through their own live broadcasts with a clever addition: a carousel where buyers can browse these seamlessly and purchase featured items.
Commerce in all shapes and guises is going to continue gaining prominence and becoming more and more competitive, with platforms likely to incorporate augmented reality and artificial intelligence to enhance customer experience and increase confidence, even allowing them to try before they buy. This will open a gateway to new entertaining shopping experiences that foster user engagement. Social selling "experiences" are fast becoming more effective than physical stores, as they set the new competitive scene for brands to promote their wares.