The third part of Asendia’s study examines the impact of social media on retailers and brands. A new era of shopping?
In today’s digital era, social media has become one of the biggest disruptors to the traditional retail and online distribution model. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok have completely changed the way people shop. The Asendie Shopper Study ( see Part 1 ) shows that social media addiction is highest among younger audiences, particularly Gen Z. But older generations are also increasingly being influenced by the effects of social media.
The variety of touchpoints that buyers use makes designing the shopping experience a challenge. Different age groups have different preferences and behaviors that need to be considered. Decision making for retailers and brands becomes more complex as the shopping experience should be based on sound facts and insights. The study shows that online direct mail and brick-and-mortar stores continue to lead, with social media often being among the top 3 sales channels. In the entire brand journey, social media sometimes even takes first place.
The buyer study provides interesting information about buying behavior in social media. A significant number of people say they use social media as their primary sales channel. Direct online purchases are at 36%, followed by physical stores at 30%. Surprisingly, YouTube is on par with physical stores at 30%. This illustrates the importance of video content and influencers on YouTube for purchasing behavior.
Strategic Growth Opportunities and the Metaverse: Globally, approximately 40% of respondents consider Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram to be the most important sales channels and expect these platforms to offer their brands strategic growth opportunities in the years to come. A similar proportion of respondents also consider the emerging concept of the metaverse in their strategy. Regional differences also play a role, such as in Hong Kong where Little Red Book and TMall play an important role. Still, the Metaverse and other mainstream global channels are gaining ground. These insights reflect the trend that omnichannel is gradually being replaced by a hybrid model.Players need to be present at the crucial moments and break away from traditional notions of online and brick-and-mortar stores. According to trade expert Steve Dennis, this requires a more diverse, flexible and hybrid mindset.
To be successful, retailers and brands need to be agile and flexible to accompany the customer throughout their brand journey and to be present at the crucial moments. It’s clear that social media has ushered in a new era of shopping, and those who understand this evolution and adapt will thrive in today’s digital world.