Consumers are increasingly turning to digital channels to discover new products. A recent survey in 2021 found that almost a quarter of UK shoppers start their product discovery journey on social media, with a higher percentage of 18-24 year olds (43%) and 25-34 year olds (47%) doing so.
More importantly, the same survey found 33% of UK consumers are even purchasing through social media. Clearly, the rise of shoppable media is a trend that E-commerce marketers cannot ignore as they look to diversify their channels through which they sell their products.
The IAB predicts that directly shoppable media will be the fastest-growing advertising category this year, with social commerce, live streaming, virtual consultations and other shoppable ad formats being on the rise. Consumers, attracted by an easy shopping experience, are now increasingly going from the top of funnel ‘awareness’ stage to the bottom ‘action’ in one simple interaction.
So how can E-commerce marketers capitalise on the growth of shoppable media to increase their sales?
Understanding some of the shoppable media opportunities
Adapting media creative for ‘shoppability’
Tools that add interactivity to media are more commonly being used in advertising. For example, QR codes, partly thanks to their helpfulness since the pandemic, are being added to creative on typically non-interactive mediums (such as TV) to allow audiences to ‘click through’ to sites.
The main social media platforms are adding features to organic and paid posts to allow users to buy products shown without leaving the app or site. Many E-commerce brands are also turning to influencers to sell directly and rewarding them through affiliate deals.
Like a new age TV shopping channel, live streaming is becoming a more popular way of people discovering and buying products online. In fact, a ‘professional’ live streamer in China sold nearly $2bn of products ranging from make-up to electronics during this years’ Singles Day (Alibaba’s version of ‘Black Friday’).
What challenges might be involved?
Control of the user journey
Where marketers give up ownership of the sale on their owned channels, there is always a sacrifice to be made. You may be forced to give up access to behavioural and purchase data, for example. It can also be harder to cross-sell during the purchase as you have less control over presenting a variety of products to the user. Finally, aligning the user experience across owned, earned and paid channels is much harder and more time-consuming.
Attribution of ads from non-shoppable media
As discussed earlier, part of the attraction of shoppable media is in the shrinking of the user journey; from awareness to action in one interaction. This puts immense pressure on attributing all credit for the conversion on that single exposure – simply because it is very easy to do so. But what if other media influenced that purchase? Attributing conversions fairly can be much harder in this situation because there is less access to user data if the purchase was made on a separate platform.
Syncing sales information across channels
With every extra sales channel E-commerce marketers use, ensuring that pricing, stock levels and assets are synchronised properly gets more challenging. Put in place omnichannel sales management tools and processes to make sure no mistakes creep through the cracks.
As E-commerce continues to grow, marketers need to ensure they are maximising reach and distribution by assessing each new development. Shoppable media presents a big opportunity to meet the customer where they are, leaning on the power of publisher or platform data to put the right products in front of the right people.