Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ten IT-enabled business trends for the decade ahead – Retail Sales

This holiday season is the first real test of the new social commerce. Last holiday season, Williams Sonoma saw over 50% of their sales from ecommerce for the first time. This year, mobile sales are expected to be over 25% of total holiday sales. Within the past year, several social media platforms, such as Pinterest, Instagram, twitter, and youTube, have implemented a “buy now” or “shop now” button to allow users to easily purchase from these sites. This is huge for retailers because Facebook and Pinterest are the top two social networks responsible for recommending or referring users to retailer’s websites or apps.
Over 75% of shoppers learn about companies and products from social media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. When seeking reviews, more than half of shoppers use social media because they value the reviews and recommendations of friends and family. Facebook and YouTube posts are among the top destinations to obtain product or brand information. The number one influencer on sales is friends’ social media shares, then brand and retailer shares. It only takes one review from a friend or family member to lose or acquire a customer. Therefore, by seeing a friend or family member positively comment on a post for a product or brand, shoppers are more likely to make a purchase. To further increase the ease of use for these buy or shop now buttons, some social media platforms are able to securely store credit card information.
Over 90% of marketers spend a majority of their social media budget on Facebook and Instagram.  Retailers are attempting to blur the lines between marketing, content and advertising by having an omnipresence, which is giving their social media marketing an in-store feel. Instagram is taking this one step further and testing a direct sales system integrated with Apple Pay that would allow users to complete purchases without leaving the main Instagram app.
The ease of purchasing products online has not been good on my wallet! Following several retailers and brands on Instagram has exposed me to several products a day. It only takes a few clicks to purchase the items in their post and have it delivered to my doorstep with in a couple days. Yet, I often still find the process to be inconvenient. There have been many occasions where I would have purchased an item shown on Instagram, but didn’t because of the process of having to check out on the store’s website. For whatever the reason, I didn’t have the time to go through the process or the item wasn’t worth going through the process. However, if the amount of work to purchase an item is further reduced, I can’t imagine that other shoppers and I will not increase the amount of purchases made through Instagram. The only thing better than being able to purchase items directly on Instagram without leaving the app would be having it delivered to me same day.

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