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Shop till you drop (your smartphone)

Retail shopping trends

Social media was created for the sole purpose of connecting users to one another. Now it has turned into a must-have marketing strategy.

In fact, social media is now one of the main ways brands communicate with their customers. From small niche brands to industry leaders, it would be unusual to find a successful business that doesn't have an online presence.

But that doesn't mean that you should be anxious to join and compete, In fact, everyone is navigating the social space and discovering what works and what doesn't with their audience.


Changes are constant

Since the pandemic began, we have seen an obscene amount of progression in the digital space. The physical and virtual worlds have become almost one and the same and continue to evolve to meet user demand. A prime example of this is Instagram's latest feature - the chronological feed, which users had been screaming out for!

Now you have the option to choose to view your posts in the order that they are published - every time you open the app! This just highlights the shift from Instagram as a photo-sharing app, to it now fitting under more of an "e-commerce platform" umbrella.

In 2022, the main purposes of social media can be filtered down to informing, persuading, and building relationships of trust.

However, depending on your business and your own habits you might not realize how common it is for customers to shop directly from their feeds. 

So, let us break it down further for you.


Shop til' you drop (your Smartphone)

In 2022, around six million people in Australia (aged 14 and older) will purchase from a retailer via a social network.

It's becoming increasingly popular for customers to shop via Instagram rather than visiting and purchasing from a brand's brick-and-mortar shop. Perhaps due to the demand for instant gratification or "I see it, I want it, I got it" attitude and a decrease in the desire to "window shop".

Amid the myriad of brands on social media, each competing for our attention, it's important to stand out. Don't be afraid of this ever-changing landscape. Look at this as an opportunity to start conversations with your customers and encourage brand loyalty.

With so many players in the game, creativity is a must in order to captivate your audience - let alone build brand loyalty.


Available 24/7, 365 days

Long gone are the days when customer service teams are available Monday to Friday, from 9 to 5. With instant gratification becoming the norm, the expectation is that business owners should be available at all times if something goes wrong. 

The silver lining? That goes both ways - now you can reach your customers at any place, at any time. You don't have to wait until your customers are driving to work for them to hear your ad on the radio. 

On average, Australians spend two and half hours each day on their smartphones. This is a total of 7.2 years of their life dedicated to scrolling, texting, double-tapping, shopping, photo-taking, etc.

If you have the capability, have staff dedicated to engagement, such as replying to comments or direct messages on Instagram.


How your customers navigate

It may even help to brainstorm your own social media habits. Think about when you open Instagram, and for what reasons (aside from business-related reasons).

Often it's for entertainment. In fact, engaging content is one of the top three reasons why people follow brands on social media.

Once you have thought about your own uses, try and step into your audience's mind. This can help in creating content that will really capture their attention (and hold it).

For example, blogs may sound like a thing of the past, but they are actually one of the best ways to communicate with your audience. A statistic that challenges the notion of our short attention spans, is that 70 percent of people reported that they would rather learn about a company via an article than ads.

People want to see behind the scenes, and they want to join in.


The future steps

This shows that businesses are moving far away from one-way conversations, and instead are opting to put effort into building and sustaining relationships with their audience.

But the space is always changing. There's no way of knowing exactly what normality for businesses will look like in years to come.

For now, we know that social networks have been around for a while and that they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.


So, the key takeaways would be:

  1. Don't let other brands intimidate you (let them inspire you!)

  2. Know your brand (what is your USP? What value can you provide that others can't?)

  3. Know your customer (where are they, when do they go online, what are they looking for?)

  4. Create engaging content (and not only one kind, e.g. blogs, reels, TikToks)

  5. Do your research (what's trending, how do algorithms change)