Facebook Publishes New Report on the Role of Social in Evolving Shopping Habits
It’s no secret that people are now consulting their mobile devices at all times, and that social apps dominate mobile usage. But how, exactly, are people using social tools within their purchase process - and how can retailers use that to advantage when planning out their strategies?
This is the focus of Facebook’s latest report, which looks at the fashion industry specifically, but may have wider implications on broader shopping trends. The report incorporates feedback from some 4,500 people across the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the US, in combination with Facebook’s own usage data, and has identified some interesting patterns as to the how and why of social usage while shopping.
First off, on fashion shopping, Facebook’s research shows that 70% of online fashion shopping journeys which end in purchase have at least one mobile touchpoint, with mobile-linked chains also having higher conversion potential.
“Based on a sampling of certain European fashion retailers, we saw that when a fashion purchase journey starts on mobile (particularly on a mobile app) it can have up to a 1.45X higher chance converting than those that start on desktop”
People take longer to convert, and browse more on mobile, but the conversion rate is higher. This could be because mobile is a more casual browsing experience – people will go looking when they have time, as opposed to being more focused on a specific product when on desktop.
But the more interesting element of the new report is the insight into exactly how people are using mobile devices during the in-store shopping experience – including which apps, and why they’re using each.
Given the breadth of international users incorporated into the study, naturally, the popularity of the various apps is spread – WhatsApp comes out as the most popular for use during shopping journeys (particularly in Germany and Spain), followed by Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.
But take a look at the top reasons why people opened these apps while shopping.
Instagram’s not included, which is annoying because it would be interesting to see those trends too – but the results here raise some interesting questions about which platforms are best to focus on when trying to reach shoppers at the point of decision in store.
If people are primarily browsing Facebook because they’re bored, does that make it a good platform to try and pique their interest with relevant shopping offers? If people are sharing more photos and videos taken in store on Messenger and WhatsApp, maybe retailers should be putting increased focus on creating staged set-ups and prompts encouraging users to do so, focused specifically on those apps.
There are a heap of interesting considerations here – as noted, it would be interesting to also see the usage behaviors for Instagram, but either way, it provides some food for thought for retail businesses.
The final element of Facebook’s report looks at how open shoppers are to receiving ads for offers or coupons in-store - which really seems to be the key to expanding the acceptance of mobile shopping ads.
Shoppers might be a little freaked out by specific, in-store ads, which are able to track their location, and possibly even what they’re looking at – but if there’s an associated offer linked to it, the creepy factor reduces.
This is where you can expect to see significant advances in retail advertising over the next few years – Facebook has already tried out in-store beacons to better track shopper movements, and they recently added new ‘Store Visits’ as an ad targeting option, highlighting their capacity in this regard.
Add to this the fact that more connected devices are also prompting users to keep their Bluetooth connectivity active at all times (new iPhones don’t even have a headphone jack), which will eventually lead to better positional tracking – and thus, will enable more targeted in-store advertising.
These are some interesting findings for retailers, and as noted, point to a future of more specific in-store targeting and focus. Worth considering for your 2018 strategic plans.
You can read the full Facebook shopping insights report here.
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