How to attract shoppers when brick-and-mortar retail stores are losing popularity? The pandemic has presented the retail industry with an unprecedented challenge, shifting business from brick-and-mortar stores to digital. In many cases, this was due to human interaction. E-commerce is a fast and convenient way to shop online, but lacks the social dimension that regular retail stores offer.
Why is it important for brands to develop social commerce
Nobody likes a purely transactional brand. That’s why, now more than ever, retail brands must focus on digital storytelling: creating brand experiences and interactive digital experiences that bring their products and services to life. In fact, social commerce is fast becoming the most important way to drive real buying intentions.
Brands need to meet customers wherever they are, including at different stages of the journey to online shopping. There is nothing easier and more effective than doing this on social networks, and in Stories in particular.
Stories have changed social media and advertising. We are currently seeing the entire social media landscape merge with stories. The same story format is used on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now even Spotify. TikTok is completely built on Stories. New versions of Stories are also starting to appear, including Instagram Reels and the Spotlight on Snapchat.
The move from news feed to Stories for both advertisers and users is a leap even larger than the move from desktop to mobile.
Created by Snapchat, shared on Instagram and taken over by TikTok, stories are viewed by users as a “more authentic” means of communicating with friends and family. In fact, they show the “real” moments of life. For advertisers, this means that the format can allow brands to interact more meaningfully with consumers.
What makes stories different is that instead of focusing on a single element, such as an image or text, they allow for full storytelling. Stories, like posts, can be composed of long and short videos, still images, graphics, text, sound, emoticons, and more. As such, they can also be a way for brands to recreate the store experience on the consumer’s phone: interactive elements like polls and Q&A can, for example, create a sense of dialogue, and uplifting music combined with vivid visuals can lead to stronger emotional connections with customers.
The Stories format combines the qualities of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and many other social media apps. Stories are a hybrid concentration of everything on social media. Advertisers who capitalize on this and create format-appropriate content can easily get in to engage the consumer and make a profit.
Stories ads, designed primarily for mobile devices, are less intrusive and more relevant. It helps capitalize on all of the major recent advances in digital advertising: the shift towards video and the growing importance of personalization and localization.
With new story-driven ad campaigns supported by automation tools, brands can take advantage of all audiences and behaviors across all social platforms at the same time. This is how they unveil a consistent multi-platform interactive experience that catches up with shoppers all the way. This may mean that you can use:
– Pinterest Stories to reach buyers who are looking for information;
– stories on TikTok to make purchases more authentic;
– Instagram Stories to create visual, creative moments;
– Facebook Stories to attract those buyers who are ready to make a purchase.
Brands should not refuse to engage with customers in every situation. With a story-driven, multi-platform social commerce strategy, retail brands are in the best position to connect with shoppers at the right time and in the right context – a combination that will ultimately lead to sales.