As shopping for young consumers becomes more mobile than ever before, these three tech trends could change retail as we know it…
In our recent Shoppability trend, we researched the ways that the whole world is becoming a showroom for Gen Z and Millennials. The retail apocalypse is a reality, social media is influencing more purchases than traditional advertisements, and smartphones are the new shopping cart. In fact, Ypulse’s research on the subject found that 88% of 13-35-year-olds shop on their phones. Welcome to the evolution of shopping. Young consumers’ challenging consumption behavior has forced brands to get creative about in-person buying, opening whole new avenues of brick-and-mortar shopping, while the online and offline shopping experiences continue to merge.
For Millennials and Gen Z, this means a rising expectation that the whole world is shoppable, and wherever they go—from Instagram to hotels—the items they see are an “add to cart” click away. Over three in five 13-35-year-olds agree: “I wish everything in life had a link to purchase it.” As this expectation becomes their norm, new tech is helping brands turn their phones into personal shoppers, and to turn the world into their showroom. Here are three trends that could meet Gen Z and Millennials in their mobile carts and help change retail:
The impact of social media on retail cannot be overstated. Shopping through social media is becoming more of a norm, and young consumers are expecting that everything they see online is available for purchase in some form or another. Racked reports that Instagram ads are the new infomercials, selling “As Seen On TV”-style products like novelty sweatshirts and luxe shower caps. One exec explains that “Millennials grew up cynical, suspicious of the world,” but that they trust Instagram—an easy in for marketers selling knick-knacks. The ads themselves create a sense of FOMO in young consumers, who are afraid of the newly necessary object disappearing from their feed forever, and leverage “implied scarcity” and “immediate discounts” to urge them to click “buy.” We also know that social media is influencing their purchasing decisions—we even found out the top 15 Things Gen Z & Millennials Want To Buy Because of Social Media. In our survey on ad/marketing effectiveness, we asked 13-35-year-olds, “Think of the last ad you saw that made you want to purchase something. Where did you see it?” While 27% said a TV commercial, 40% said a social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter). Now, shopping their social feeds is becoming even easier. Instagram has added shoppable tags to Stories, reporting that “[w]ith 300M using Instagram Stories everyday, people are increasingly finding new products from brands they love.” But they’re not stopping there. The platform is also reportedly working on a standalone shopping app. The app will be for ecommerce only, providing a space for users to browse and purchase products from businesses that they follow.
Augmented reality has been embraced by the beauty industry as a marketing tool—and now multiple industries are exploring its potential to get young shoppers to click “buy.” This July, Facebook ads got more shoppable with an augmented reality update. AR continues to be the tech trend of the moment, and now it’s coming to users’ newsfeeds. According to TechCrunch, Michael Kors was the first brand to use the new feature by releasing ads that will let customers digitally try on and purchase sunglasses. AR ads are coming to Messenger and Instagram as well—all with the goal of bringing a traditionally in-store experience to customers’ screens. According to Digiday, LEGO has begun experimenting with augmented reality on Amazon because (as one exec puts it) “there’s so much to capitalize on than just purely a marketplace,” and they’re not letting any opportunities pass them by. In the retail realm, Target’s beauty section is upping their “digital desirability” by offering augmented reality features in select stores and online.
The next phase of mobile shopping could make everything that young consumers see shoppable. Google Lens’s new Style Watch feature allows users to “browse the world around you, just by pointing your camera,” and scan outfits or home decor to be given suggestions for matching items for sale—in real time. ASOS Style Match is a feature on the retailer’s app that performs similarly; users upload a picture of an item of clothing they like and are given suggestions for look-alikes available for sale at that moment on ASOS.com. Now, it’s rumored that Snapchat is working on a visual product search tool. According to TechCrunch, the snap-to-shop feature is codenamed “Eagle,” and will bring users to Amazon’s listings when they snap a pic of something that they want to buy.
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