Our Project Lead Consulting Michael Hinse shows that, in addition to social commerce, mobile and conversational commerce are gaining more and more firepower. On Internet World Business, he addresses the rapid development of new technologies such as AR shopping and once again makes it clear that digital commerce is a mainstay in commerce.
The multitude of options for advertising in digital commerce opens up new opportunities for brands to reach potential customers with precision targeting.
Digital commerce is booming: In addition to the general trend towards mobile commerce, social commerce and new technologies such as “AR shopping” are driving the rapid development in digital commerce. Michael Hinse from esome presents 5 essential trends.
1. Mobile commerce stronger than ever
Mobile commerce is one of the significant trends in online shopping. Shopping from mobile devices enables an easier and faster shopping experience. Transactions take place via a variety of mobile platforms such as apps, browsers and on social media. Mobile apps in particular are seeing strong growth. Adjust, an analytics platform for global mobile marketing, observed a 12 percent year-over-year increase in revenue in its 2021 E-Commerce App Report.
In the mobile device environment, short video content and photos in particular play an essential role in advertising. This creates new opportunities for addressing users, through which marketers can reach and activate their target groups. Advertising placements must be selected to fit precisely and adapted to mobile devices and apps so that target groups can be reached efficiently. In line with the “mobile first” idea, advertising on smartphones can be integrated into the digital inventory mix.
2. Undisputed trendsetter: social commerce
Social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok offer a seamless shopping experience on mobile devices and have made social commerce one of the most important trends.
According to a recent study by Accenture, social commerce will account for over 17 percent of e-commerce sales by 2025. By linking product search, inspiration and the final purchase process on one platform, the user’s shopping experience is fundamentally changing. It is no longer necessary to leave the platform. For advertisers, this opens up new opportunities for brand loyalty. They can also better manage purchase transactions: Shoppable ads, for example, offer users the opportunity to complete transactions within the native social media environment. On the other hand, dynamic product ads can be used for personalized ads based on users’ browsing behavior.
Hybrid shopping habits are additionally becoming more established through trends such as “community commerce” triggered by influencer advertising and “live shopping events.”
Linking stationary offline commerce and digital online commerce is also possible via advertising measures. For example, a store in the vicinity can be pointed out or the purchase option in the store can be actively offered. For this reason, advertisers should definitely consider the integration of social commerce into the customer journey when implementing omnichannel marketing strategies.
3. Shoppable moving images remain popular
Moving image formats are particularly popular with marketers because they play a significant role in the purchase decision. Videos convey more emotion than image-text combinations and – integrated into suitable storytelling – they create an enhanced user experience. Video commerce shortens the buying process because users have the opportunity to buy products directly from a video. One of the most exciting future trends in this context is “live videos,” which are now also becoming increasingly popular in Germany: Large companies such as Douglas and Media Markt have already discovered the trend for themselves and host regular live sales broadcasts on their social platforms.
4. Conversational commerce for an improved user experience
Users like to buy from merchants with whom they can interact – even in e-commerce. Conversational commerce combines personal interaction with a digital shopping experience, because the purchase and communication with users takes place via messaging apps, website chats, chatbots or voice assistants (“voice shopping”). Messaging services such as WhatsApp or Google’s Business are used specifically in conversational commerce.
This interface allows businesses and customers to connect quickly, efficiently, and reliably in a way they know and trust. Advertisers have the opportunity to address users or specific user groups individually at this point with personalized communication. In this way, users can be accompanied on their entire customer journey, from the first contact to the conclusion of the purchase and after-sales management. It is crucial to support users, especially when they hesitate and may abandon the purchase.
5. Future strategy: Augmented reality (AR) shopping
One of the big drivers of growth in online retail will be augmented reality (AR) technology. AR makes it possible to add virtual content to a person’s real environment and to combine personalization and immersive shopping experiences in a way that consumers can engage with more intensively. AR thus represents completely new possibilities for e-commerce in terms of product presentation and therefore offers advertisers valuable new opportunities to engage with users. Be it through shoppable videos, 3D product visualizations or the ability to engage virtual assistants.
According to Snapchat’s new Gen-Z report, there is a considerable demand, especially among the young target group: 88 percent want to use AR for shopping. Alongside companies such as Amazon, Mister Spex and Ikea, Snapchat in particular is responding to this desire and has upgraded heavily in recent months. The “Catalog powered Shopping Lenses” allow users to virtually try on clothes via augmented reality and at the same time receive information on the price, size or colors of the product.
Snapchat has also announced innovations such as the Snap 3D Asset Manager, AR Image Processing, Dress Up, and the AR Shopping Camera Kit. For marketers in 2022 to ideally exploit the market’s great potential, their campaign strategies must take into account specific AR approaches and holistically integrate them into the marketing mix to comprehensively shape the user journey.
How can brands take advantage of these trends without getting lost in the possibilities?
The many options for advertising in digital commerce open up new opportunities for brands to reach potential customers. In order to ensure optimal use of media and to reach the individual target group efficiently, it is crucial for advertisers to evaluate precisely which platform can offer the ideal environment for the respective service or product. Not every trend fits and not every check-out on the platform itself favors the buying process. It is also important to develop an understanding of the usage behavior of individual and, above all, relevant target groups for social and digital commerce.
Compared to traditional e-commerce, not every user is looking for a new product in advance when they are in the personalized social media environment. It is advisable to focus on particularly affine target groups and address them authentically in the native environment: Mobile-first generations, for example, often experience brand loyalty first via social media and then stay in this digital world all the way through to purchase. Channel selection can reflect different stages of the buying process: The right stimuli in the inspiration or awareness phase can build brand loyalty and lead to increased readiness – or consideration – in the next step, during the extended product search, which can ultimately lead to the final purchase.