by Reagan Raj
November 9th, 2017

Social Commerce – Why It’s Inevitable for Marketers

There was a point in time when the path to purchasing a product was fragmented and prolonged with multiple touch points. We moved between devices – from mobile to desktop, desktop to mobile – looking for information to validate our decision to buy a product. And by the time we were ready to press ‘purchase’, we’d sometimes have doubts about our initial decision and, in many cases, be swayed by a competing brand.

The Traditional Sales Funnel Is No Longer Traditional  

The good news is, with ecommerce, that circuitous process will soon be a thing of the past.

One particular social media platform popular throughout the Asia Pacific region is shortening the path to purchase so it’s no longer winding, but rather a few steps by way of two or three clicks. By integrating shopping functionality into ads, it offers consumers a swift window to purchase.

With buyer behaviour being unpredictable amid the augmentation of a cross-device world, one answer to wrapping up sales lies in compressing the path to purchase. This can be done by condensing the awareness, engagement and decision phases into one. The ability to pair product images with a video commercial allows shoppers to tap on the images in an ad and be brought straight to the product page where they can complete the purchase with a few simple clicks.

Riding The Emotional Waves

This works well because the platform integrates the selling point while consumers are likely to be still immersed in the emotional hook that a commercial presents. Purchase decisions rely heavily on the emotions we are experiencing when we see an ad. Data from a fMRI neuro-imagery study shows that when evaluating a brand or product, consumers use emotions rather than information.

As Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing puts it, “We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation.” So when our emotions waver while we venture down the path to purchase, our decision too becomes uncertain. Shortening the path to purchase while the consumer is experiencing an emotion is the key to securing a deal.

To inspire more immediate purchases by shortening the sales funnel, Instagram plans to introduce a new shopping feature for brands on its platform. The feature provides brand posts with a ‘tap to view’ icon at the bottom left of a photo. When tapped, a tag will appear on various products in the post—showcasing up to five products and their prices. Once a tag is selected, a new detailed view of the product will open. This functionality will bring important product information to the consumer earlier in the journey, all without having to leave the Instagram app to look for information.

In today’s cross-device and social world, mobile seems to be the constant determining factor. According to the Internet Retailer report, there’s been a 250% growth reported in Asia for mobile shopping in the last two years. It’s clear that if they haven’t already, brands need to start engaging with consumers through mobile in a more engaging, direct way. So the question is, is your audience ready? And if they are, are you?

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