24th July 2020
Since the start of the global pandemic, there has been a rise in online shopping. Mindshare’s New Normal Tracker shows that despite being able to go to physical stores across most markets, only 14% of consumers are doing so and that there has been a huge rise in online shopping amongst the 65+ demographic, moving from 55% in March saying they were shopping online ‘more’ or ‘roughly the same as before’ to 81% in July. In response, many platforms have been expanding their ecommerce capabilities.
This week, Google’s R&D division, Area 120, announced the launch of its new app, Shoploop. The app will consist of a feed of short videos (up to 90 seconds) from creators reviewing and talking about products. The videos will then link directly to the products discussed so that consumers can immediately purchase them. The app will function like other social media platforms, in that users can like, save and share posts and even follow creators. Creators will benefit from affiliate links.
The goal of the app is to bring the shopping experience together on one experience – discovering, evaluating and buying products all in one place. Google says that the idea for Shoploop came from research in the buyers’ ecommerce journey which suggests that people will seek reviews from others once they have discovered a product and then eventually end up on an online shop to buy the item. This app brings the whole experience in to one app. At the moment the categories on the app are makeup, skincare, hair and nail. The app is available in a number of markets but houses mostly US brands and products currently.
Instagram is launching a new Shop section in the explore page; ‘a new destination…that makes it easier to shop from brands and creators’ according to Instagram. The update follows the launch of Facebook and Instagram Shops in May. The updated page includes personalised recommendations and collections from the Instagram @shop team. Instagram checkout arrows will show which products you can buy directly on Instagram without leaving the app. The new page is rolling out in the US and will expand globally in the coming weeks.
In addition, Facebook Pay will be available in Instagram checkout, initially in the US, which will enable in-app payment. Instagram has also said that later this year it will be adding a new Shop tab in the navigation bar, to enable users to get to Instagram Shop in just one tap. Combined, all these features are designed to make shopping on Instagram seamless.
YouTube’s Direct Response
At the end of June, YouTube announced the launch of a new ad format called ‘Direct Response’. This format aims to make YouTube ads more ‘shoppable’ by adding browsable product images below the ad to drive traffic to product pages. Brands will be able to use the shoppable format by synching their Google Merchant Center Feed with their video ads. YouTube believes its platform can fulfil the growing interest in online shopping – with its data suggesting that 70% of people claim they’ve bought a brand’s product as a result of seeing it on the platform.
These three developments are characteristic of a continuing shift towards expanding ecommerce capabilities across digital platforms and bringing media and commerce into the same experience. Completing purchase journeys within the same app and allowing consumers to easily discover information about products makes it easier for brands to reach and sell to consumers online, which if the rise in online commerce usage continues, will be increasingly important for brands wishing to stay connected with their consumers, whatever their target demographic.