How Smartphones and Social Media have forever changed the way Consumers Shop
For the last decade, there has been more change and disruption in the Retail Industry, than across the last century. At the core of these changes, is a consumer base which is younger, technologically-enabled and socially-savvy.
Mobile devices first changed the way consumers digested information, allowing them to research extensively before purchase, and evaluate when and where to get the best price on the items they want. Social Media has enabled brands to expand their spheres of influence, and expose their products to a much larger audience.
This “always-on” generation of shoppers has forced dramatic changes in the retail industry, forcing retailers to adapt; increasing the speed of product creation, and the speed of product-to-market for the masses to consume. This type of merchandising has allowed fast-fashion retailers like Zara, Uniqlo and H&M to thrive.
With the increased ownership and usage of smartphones, and other mobile devices, E-Commerce has seen a boom to almost 10% of total Retail sales, with at least 92% of E-Commerce growth originating from mobile devices. The use of Mobile Devices has grown so strong, that now 87% of all product searches begin online, up from 71% last year.
Influencers & Social Media:
The previous generation got much of its style influence from celebrity culture, magazine, television and movies. While some of this type of influence still exists, it has evolved via social media, creating new personalities and product demand via Influencer Marketing.
As social media has evolved over the last decade, every-day bloggers suddenly became super-stars on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. A recent study has shown that younger consumers are spending more and more time consuming social media content than traditional media, to the tune of 5-6 hours a day, exposing them to styles and products they might not have been privy to before.
Brands suddenly surged via social media, and turned Influencer Marketing into an extremely lucrative market; an estimated $10 Billion dollars by 2020, and currently offering Marketers 11x the ROI of traditional marketing channels.
A few years ago, we wrote an article about the “Buy Button” that were going to appear across social media. The trend has been slow to implement, but gaining momentum as more and more brands purchase shop-able ads directly on the platforms. Instagram has the “Shop Now” button, and Snapchat is using AR lenses on stories.
Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook have all been active players in this new commercial market, and at the rate of growth in influencer marketing, this will only continue to become a viable way for brands to connect directly with their consumers.
The Final Word:
With the continued evolution of technology, it is hard to say what effect Virtual/Augmented Reality, Voice Assistants and AI will have on the industry as a whole as of yet; but as it stands, the current generation and the digital world of e-commerce/m-commerce are truly a force to be reckoned with.
Despite the growth in digital over the last decade, and turmoil in the industry, it is important to note that almost 9 out of 10 purchases still occur within the physical, brick-and-mortar space, making the store still a central point in a customer’s journey.
Keep in mind, according to a new study by Publicis Sapient, only 46% of consumers prefer to make a purchase in-store, vs. 35% for laptops and 18% from smartphones, and the fact that almost 90% still purchase in-store illustrates the need for a shopping experience they can only get in person.
If your organization is looking for ways to ensure an optimal experience for your customers, A2R may be able to help. Learn all the ways we can help your Retail business thrive at a2r.ca