The rise of s-commerce


The rise of s-commerce

By Simone Castle
Social Strategist

Instagram is working on a standalone “IG Shopping” app (reported by The Verge). It means users will browse and purchase directly within Instagram.

The logical next step after shoppable posts in 2016 and shoppable Stories earlier this year, it’s part of a wave of social platforms eating into commerce.

Snapchat launched ‘Visual Search’ in partnership with Amazon allowing users to point the Snap camera at a product and receive a shoppable Amazon link upon recognition. Facebook are working on a way for users to virtually try on products and buy in-app.

At a time when big retailers were dipping their toes in to social media with varying degrees of success, Lolly Wolly Doodle cracked it with the simplicity of its sales technique.

These features look to capitalise on a growing number of users researching products via social media and businesses that have rebooted the traditional path-to-purchase with social.

Ella Woodward, founder of Deliciously Ella, credits Instagram with catapulting her business from a recipe blog to a company encompassing supper clubs, best-selling recipe books, a deli, and branded products in over 5,500 stores - all done with no marketing team, no internal creative team, no advertising.

“We are continuously outselling our competitors in almost every single store we sell in and that is all through the power of social media.”

But for legacy retailers who can’t reinvent the whole business around social, best practice is in using the data as a way to enhance brick-and-mortar operations.

Anthropologie & Co, the brand’s US concept store, uses social data to define which items are displayed in store. Nordstrom experimented with a ‘top Pinned’ section in stores, updated by store staff who are equipped with tablets to monitor changes in trending items live. And the entire inventory for Amazon’s “4-Star” store will be driven by digital data, only selling new, trending and 4-star rated items.

But for leading practice we look to Burberry. Customers can use their chatbot to book an Uber to their nearest store. Here, they’ll be met by a sales assistant who has access to the customer’s purchase history and social media activity. The assistant can personalise their advice - ‘this handbag will go with the coat you bought last time, and it’s popular with other people with that coat’.

The physical experience blends with the digital seamlessly. Just like in customer’s lives. But we’re surprised by the low uptake of these opportunities across legacy retailers. The only explanation is that these retailers need to start helping technology and people work hand-in-hand - using digital data to inform everything from product development to real world experiences.


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At Albion we’re excited about a new era for the high street. If you’re a retailer and feel the same then get in touch:

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