As traditional shopping increasingly wanes, retailers are ramping up investment in shoppable ads. From livestreams and Google Shopping to Checkout on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and Product Pins on Pinterest, these shoppable forms enable consumers to go from discovery to purchase in seconds, leading to greater profits. Ahead, executives from AcuityAds, Joyned, Wunderkind and Clinch share the trends that brands should keep ahead of as retail strategies evolve to favor shoppable media.

Shoppable Media Helps Advertisers Shorten Path To Purchase And Build Relationships With Consumers

Seraj Bharwani, AcuityAds chief strategy officer, says to keep in mind shoppable media’s two objectives. The first is to facilitate the path to purchase with direct access to ecommerce. In-stream, in-video, in-feed and in-Pin transactions allow advertisers to build efficient access to their ecommerce sites and facilitate the sale. These formats are best for small-ticket and impulse purchases where the consumer’s decision journey is naturally short – for example, consumer packaged goods, wellness and beauty categories.

The second objective, according to Bharwani, is that shoppable media intend to help advertisers achieve first-party relationships with consumers. While it cannot guarantee a transaction for considered purchases, shoppable media can meet consumers during the exploratory stage of their decision journey, for example when seeking financial services, healthcare and automobiles. Nevertheless, front-end media alone will not decrease the journey for such purchases given that they often take weeks to months to complete the transaction. In this context, brands require post-media exposure to increase sales productivity.

Address The Experience, Not Just Driving Behavior

According to Joyned chief executive officer Jonathan Abraham, true social shopping is about addressing the consumer’s experience and going beyond Facebook Shops or clicking on Instagram Ads. 

Retailers can help reduce reliance on third-party social media platforms by offering virtual spaces where friends can have private, ‘dressing room’ conversations, notes Abraham. Doing so will drive higher organic traffic and average orders while also increasing lifetime customer value.

Adapt To The Consumer And How They Want To Communicate With A Brand

Where social media was once a tool to discover new products, it has now become the channel where products are purchased. Wunderkind president Michael Osborne stresses the importance of recognizing that every touchpoint in a consumer’s shopping experience has the potential to lead to revenue. To capitalize on this fact, brands must offer an authentic, personalized and experience-evoking email, text or direct message. 

Wunderkind’s research found that 51 percent of US consumers view email as the most effective form of communication from brands, followed by text (38 percent), in-app messaging (23 percent) and instant messaging (22 percent). Among the four forms of communication listed here, brands underutilize text messaging in particular. Not only does this channel help brands achieve a direct line of communication unavailable elsewhere, but it also allows for easy sharing of links to personalized promotions.

To earn loyal consumers and develop a reputation for reliability, brands must offer more than quality products and active social channels—they must adapt to the consumer and recognize how they want to be engaged with and through what channels while continuing to prioritize their interests and needs, according to Osborne.

The Importance Of The Consumer Experience In Shoppable Media

The personalization of shoppable ad units was the last element that commerce brands had envisioned addressable TV would solve for. According to Oz Etzioni, chief executive officer and co-founder of Clinch, enabling ‘shoppability’ doesn’t solve for the redundancy of the same irrelevant shoppable units being served to the consumer. 

Clinch personalization has the ability to reflect tonality and inconspicuous call-to-actions that allow shoppers to respond to on their own time—whether by pausing their show to make a purchase online or scanning a QR code as they continue watching their live program uninterrupted. As Etzioni notes, by personalizing the shopping ad, brands can improve the user experience with the effect of making the user more receptive to the message and less likely to exit the stream or app.

Brands must make the path to purchase as seamless as possible during 2021’s holiday season given the uncertainties associated with the intersection of shelter-in-place and work-from-home shopping habits with supply chain and shipping issues, according to Etzioni. Apart from sales lift and return on investment, shoppable ads may also be used to reinforce relationships with retailer platforms and provide helpful information regarding consumer preferences.