Digital access is now a critical point in the shopping journey. Shoppers can browse online at any hour of the day and they have more resources to drive what products they choose. From reading online product reviews to watching influencer must-have videos, 81% of shoppers research products online before they buy.
Shoppers now observe brand content the same way they enjoy following a friend’s feed. And because each individual’s shopping journey consists of micro-moments, brand content has the power to shape decisions.
Close to 90% of shoppers purchase products from brands they follow on social media. And enhanced online experiences like virtual consultations, product demo videos, and retail apps are changing the retail game.
With more choices than ever, video content captivates shoppers and steers them closer to the point of purchase. Virtual shopper interaction, access to shoppable media, and educational content are all valuable incentives for Gen-Z and millennial shoppers.
And brands have a lucrative opportunity in their hands. When brands embrace immersive digital trends, they earn loyal customers and drive sales.
VIDEO SHOPPING: FOSTERING DEEPER CONNECTIONS
Shoppers choose brands that listen to what they want. A brand’s investment in a user-friendly online shopping experience says they value their customers’ time. With 72% of consumers preferring video, shoppers gravitate toward brands exploring video marketing and shopping.
As seen with the steady popularity of TikTok–a video-based social media platform–video content is king. Shoppers turn to video content for tutorials and demos, recommendations, reviews and comparisons, DIY ideas, and influencer picks. Even when shopping IRL, 55% of shoppers reference online videos before making a purchase.
Through video, shoppers get to digitally interact with products in a real, authentic way. They look for answers to questions in the comments (“Is this good for sensitive skin?”) or ask in real-time on a livestream (“What shade works best for olive skin?”). And with an embedded click-to-buy feature, the shopping journey’s cycle can complete before the video ends.
BLENDING THE BEST OF ONLINE AND IRL
The need to quarantine during the peak of the COVID pandemic was a catalyst to an already transforming shift in the retail industry. It was an opportunity or more appropriately, a necessity, to blur the lines between eCommerce and in-store shopping.
Gen-Z and Millennials begin their shopping experience where they spend the most time: Online. With video shopping, a brand can nourish the shopper’s interest in their product or service by providing a fun experience.
Virtual consultations deliver the personalized services and expert advice that a shopper would otherwise only be able to get IRL. Online shoppers can engage in real-time and view authentic content through livestream product demos. Innovations in retail technology make this type of experience possible, including the ability to buy “in the moment.”
The ingenuity of this reshaped shopping experience caters to a variety of needs. Shoppers still want to visit brick-and-mortar stores, but it’s no longer where they want to go through the stages of product discovery, research, and purchase. At Jonathan Adler, 60% of sales initiated through virtual shopping tools were completed in-store.
Time is precious. And modern shoppers only want brand encounters that are efficient and maximize their return.
EARNING TRUST THROUGH SHARED VALUES
An expanded digital platform creates more space to develop brand awareness. The new generation of shoppers understands the impact their buying choices have on the world. Ethics and sustainability are more relevant than ever in the retail industry.
In short, shoppers take action by supporting transparent brands driven by values.
First impressions are crucial. A brand can leverage its online presence by sharing commitments toward sustainability and ethical practices in the same place online shoppers go for product information. As companies and shoppers share the same space, it’s a reminder that humans exist behind the brand. Human connections can be created virtually as small business owners share their success stories and brand designers reveal their sources of inspiration.
Doubling down on digital brand presence does not take away from human value. The desire for authentic content reinforces the worth of product experts.
Consider store associates who provide personalized shopper interactions, both virtually or in-store, and ultimately represent the brand. Shoppers want to buy from brands that empower and value their product experts. Video shopping is a great way for brands to create space on their platform for product experts and influencers.
THE KEY TO BRAND GROWTH AND SHOPPER HAPPINESS
The use of virtual shopping tools demonstrates a brand’s digital competency and its desire to meet shopper needs. Retail technology makes it possible for brands to identify what works by gathering real-time performance data. Spotting changes in shopping behavior enables brands to pivot their marketing style without negatively impacting the shopper. In turn, brands can meet shopper expectations while growing sales, both in-store and online.
With the future of video shopping, brands can establish authentic connections with their shoppers. Trust builds through virtual consultations and personal recommendations. Shoppers appreciate a genuine relationship—if they are treated right, they continue to support the brand and share their experiences with others.
Taking the best aspects of in-store and online shopping reshapes the retail experience to benefit brands and shoppers. A new and exciting dynamic is created with unique services like intuitive virtual fitting rooms and the ability to chat with a sales associate at a store near you.
As shoppers push for transparency and ethical practices, brands that care about the environment and social issues get rewarded for their resolve. And for brands eager to embrace new tools that help them grow and adapt, the future is bright.