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4 Ways Social Media Is Getting More Shoppable

This holiday season, social media platforms are making it easier than ever for young consumers to click buy—without ever leaving their feeds…

Mobile shopping will be bigger than ever this holiday season, thanks to Millennials. Oath found that 61% of the demo will use their devices at some point in their holiday shopping journeys, and a full 40% will make a mobile purchase, compared to 25% of Gen X and 11% of Boomers—contributing to eMarketer’s prediction that mobile will make up nearly 44% of all ecommerce this year and 5.4% of total holiday sales. And this year, social media will undoubtedly play a bigger role in their product browsing, discovering, and purchasing.

The impact of social media on retail cannot be overstated. As we’ve outlined before, 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.  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. In the last few months—and in the lead up to the holiday shopping season—social media platforms have been adding a slew of new features and tools that make it easier than ever to click “buy” and discover new products to purchase. Here are four ways social is getting more shoppable than ever before:

Instagram Shop Lists

According to Racked, Instagram ads are the new infomercials, selling “As Seen On TV”-style products like novelty sweatshirts and luxe shower caps to willing young consumers. With the idea of product discovery baked into their platform, Instagram has been optimizing for retail. In September, they 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 didn’t stop there. Just in time for the holidays, the platform has announced a variety of new shopping features. Users can now add any item they see to a personalized virtual wish list called their “shopping collection.” “Must-have items” can be flagged and instantly saved to “shopping,” for future perusal—allowing for the creation of personalized product catalogues for each user. For businesses, in-feed videos are becoming shoppable, and business pages will be given a “shop” section to house all product posts. Facebook’s COO reports that 90 million people click on Instagram product tags each month, so the platform could be a quick-rising retail competitor.

Snapchat Visual Search

It looks like the 61% of 13-35-year-olds who told Ypulse they wish everything in life had a purchase link will be getting their wish—thanks to advances in social media commerce. This fall, after a few weeks of rumors, Snapchat announced a  new visual search that takes users from real world products to an Amazon buy button just by taking a picture. Their visual search tool lets users scan real-life items to see a card that gives them the information for that item or similar products, along with its price, reviews score, and a link. Simply tapping the card brings them to Amazon to make their purchase.




Pinterest Shop The Look

Pinterest is leveraging tech to make its feeds more personalized and shoppable. According to Glossy, they’re introducing ways to become “a personal stylist for its 250 million monthly users.” Not only are they curating content to users’ interests, but they’ve rolled out shoppable pins. The new format links the pin directly to a product and shows in real time what the price is and how much inventory is left. Users can also “long press” an image to see related products available to buy from a variety of retailers. Their COO said that clicks to retail sites are up 40%, explaining that replacing their dedicated shopping category with this fully integrated approach works because “a lot of times you don’t realize you are shopping.” Finally, starting last month, their “Shop the Look” tool was expanded, allowing big companies, small businesses, and influencers to tag images with links to related products.


Creative Brand Campaigns

Brands can take advantage of all the shoppable social tools above—but they can also get creative with turning social media scrolling into a point of sale opportunity. Just take EasyJet, which recently gave Generation Wanderlust the ability to  book their next trip with an Instagram screenshot. According to Quartzy, EasyJet’s “Look and Book” feature automatically identifies European locations and fills out flight booking info from user-provided screenshots. While we’ve seen clothing brands leverage click-to-buy links for their looks, this innovation from the U.K. airline shows how travel brands can make social media more shoppable for them, too. Plus, the feature leverages wanderlust (and envy) for Instagrammable destinations.