In a recent study led by Dove, 82% of women believe social media is influencing how we define beauty today. This perception is now 4 times bigger than the same study revealed 10 years ago.
The sociological shift has a tremendous impact on the business side of beauty and fashion; according to PM Digital, social media accounts for 12% of traffic on beauty brand sites, more any other industry. Moreover, on the most visual social network Instagram, beauty brands would drive the fastest growing communities - even more interesting, the most engaged ones (LH2).
Instagram and social networks in general could lead consumers into a fictionalization of their own lives. The photos we share online are both a reality and perception of our diverse lives. Filtering is a way to prepare the emotional reactions we expect from our own audience and to a certain extent, the visual self-content we decide to publish are less spontaneous as they are loaded with an objective - generating admiration, rapture, laughter, inspiration, shock and pushing the boundaries.
E-commerce platforms are becoming social landing pages
However more social interactions tend to drive to online stores - it's amusing to see how the diverse e-commerce homepages have changed in the last couple of months. What used to be a product-display only ecosystem, brands like Diesel have moved from product-centric to experience-centric browsing.
Editorial strategies are no longer programmes apart from the marketing funnel - they are directly implemented and interfering with the transactional goals. In Diesel's case, the products are placed into entertainment content; it's a way to tell the consumers that they're buying the whole universe, not only a piece of denim.
2011 homepage, product-centric:
2014 homepage, experience-centric:
In L'Oreal Paris' new e-commerce platform, the strategy seems probably less brave, but still the products are now presented through usage, functionalities and experiential tutorials. What's even more interesting is that the mobile experience is clearly integrated within the UX.
It's another great example of how brands try to mash up cultural habits that they curate with brand values.
E-commerce platforms as tangible experience
That's good news for social media strategists; brands now seem to want to earn their communities in the most natural place they own - their website. It can lead to a tremendous impact with established social networks like Facebook. The "darling of Wall Street" could rethink the way they want to monetize their users; brand websites are finally becoming the key hub both for relational and transactional ties with consumers.
Interestingly, brands don't seem to want to become a media after all but instead may want to adopt good old brick-and-mortar shops avenues, providing them with the opportunity to give good advice, to reinsure customers and to take care of them in a way.