The Anywhere Aisle

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What ever happened to social shopping?

Social shopping has had failure to launch. Multiple times. How come social shopping never took hold? We have influencers, we have massive social media advertising spend, and brands planting some fairly heavy duty flags in the ground on social media platforms. From Facebook and Instagram to Snapchat and even LinkedIn. But why, oh why, can’t consumers buy directly from brands on these platforms, instead of having to leave? It’s been attempted, but none of the social media networks have truly embraced it… or pulled it off in a substantive way.  AdWeek’s article, The Rise of the Social Shopper, puts a positive growth spin on the story, but there is not a lot of meat on the bone, if you dig a little. In fact, the (honest) truth behind this article is that the growth of social shopping has less to do with social media than it is about the growth of mobile and smartphones.

The thing about social shopping.

As direct to consumer brands grow, and platforms like Shopify enable and empower a new breed of entrepreneur to sell online, it further emphasizes the true power of ecommerce. That power is this: endless aisle. These digital stores can carry every single product (in every single color and size) imaginable. The “store” is no longer restricted to a physical rented/leased property. You can “shop the brand” twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week. No news here. Where ecommerce falls down (these days), is that most of the big brands don’t empower off-site shopping, and most platforms don’t have their own social shopping experiences ready to rock. Social shopping these days is more like priming for the commerce pump. Social media platforms do create value for commerce brands by provide a place to share information about brands, they can act as a utility to supplement the brand’s transactional sites, they are great for customer service/engagement, influencers and beyond. Still, why can’t consumers transact directly on the social media platform? Why?

What will it take for brands to shift from the endless aisle to the anywhere aisle?

If you can shop the brand anytime online, why not be able to shop it anywhere? Why should a consumer have to leave Facebook or YouTube to buy a product that they’re engaged with/want while they’re on a social media platform? Is social shopping on the rise? Does social shopping have a future?

Interested in hearing more? You may want to listen to this: BeanCast #518 – Incremental Digital.

Recently, I discussed these topics (and more) along with Michelle Excell (The Antipodean), Holly Noto (Xplane), David Spark (Spark Media Solutions) and host Bob Knorpp on the very excellent BeanCast Podcast (which I’ve been fortunate to be a guest on in the past). I don’t know what it is about BeanCast, Bob Knorpp and these other panelists, but there is always “something in the water” when we record these conversations that brings out a lot of stimulating ideas and insights. Please let me know what you think. 

Take a listen and jump into the fray…