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12/16/2020

Home influencers

Jean-Guillaume Paumier
0 min read

Social platforms have opened a very public two-way conversation between brands and consumers. For brands, these channels are the quickest way to reach their audiences without intermediaries. They are also the most natural way to intertwine brands with cultural, political and social discussions happening at any moment. For consumers, social platforms are an easy way to interact with the brands and keep them in check. According to research by Sprout Social, 45% of respondents have already reached out to a company on social and 55% have called out brands on social to get a resolution or response. Yet, social platforms are today much more than an enhanced customer service conduit, they have become a fully-fledged commerce channel, particularly helpful for at-home shopping.

In Asia, many consumers are already purchasing within social channels and we believe this trend will continue. In China alone, we expect close to four out of ten people to be social buyers by 2023. Although Western platforms have been trailing behind in the social commerce space, over the last 18 months they have considerably strengthened their capabilities to support end-to-end social shopping experiences. Instagram introduced Checkout, enabling customers to conveniently pay, get delivery notices and save their contact information for future purchases directly within the platform. Since then, the platform announced it is testing the ability for businesses to run their existing shopping posts as ads. Snapchat has also been experimenting with native checkout for some high-profile influencers. By bridging inspiration and transaction without ever leaving the social platform, these features enable a seamless shopping experience. We anticipate a boom in social commerce experiences in future years.

According to the adage, everything old is new again – and e-commerce is no exception. The well-known mechanisms of traditional TV shopping channels (e.g., creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity) have found a new home online, with livestreaming and virtual drops turning into the new battlegrounds for exciting younger generations. Once again, Asia leads the world. The gross merchandise volume driven by Taobao Live (Alibaba Group’s livestreaming channel) has grown by about 150% a year for three years straight, and the company plans to host livestreaming sessions from 300,000 merchants per day in 2020. Influencers are a cornerstone of the live shopping success. In China, superhosts grow brands’ heat and sales: Austin Li Jiaqi, known as the Lipstick Brother, reportedly sold 15,000 lipsticks within 15 minutes, and Dong Mingzhu, Chairwoman of Gree Electric, sold more than $42 million of home appliances in one three-hour livestream on video platform Kuaishou. Amazon is also betting big on influencers, recruiting celebrities such as Taylor Swift for its annual Prime Day event and adding livestreaming to its Amazon Influencer Program.

Although high-reach livestreaming, unboxing videos and brand collaborations command huge followings online, the most interesting influencer trend may be happening at the one-on-one scale. We've seen an increasing number of brands experimenting with connecting customers at home with their in-store sales assistants. For instance, the technology of the conversational specialist HERO® enables in-store associates to see in real-time what products people are browsing on the brand website and to answer any questions ranging from availability to complementary items to personal advice. Customers are connected to associates from the nearest store, and online sales are attributed to the store associate. In the midst of the pandemic, this type of solution can help brands offer new perspectives to their staff. We believe these local individual connections will grow exponentially in the future.

Social platforms are extending their reach into commerce journeys to create seamless customer interactions. As the nature of influence is changing, brands need to deeply understand the channels and partnerships that make the most sense to their customers. Designing new engaging and real-time experiences for customers at home will be essential to grow customer loyalty.

This article is excerpted from the new Vizeum report Future of Home. Download it now for key insights on the trends shaping the home revolution.

Jean-Guillaume Paumier

Global Digital Partner

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