24 Hour Retail People: How close to consumer commerce has transformed our shopping habits

eCommerce

Wind back 100 years and retail was predominantly a 9-5 Mon-Sat experience done in real life and through bricks and mortar stores. We shopped locally and our local butcher, baker and candlestick maker knew our name, our order and stocked according to our weekly demands.  It was Ackwright, brown overalls and corner shops.  

But we all know how the digital commerce journey has advanced, with most of us clicking and collecting, or welcoming the UPS, postman and Hermes driver by name. However, the advent of social media and the move to commercialise the platforms through advertising and brand awareness have brought new opportunities to buy and, with them, opening hours for all. 

No longer restricted to daylight, you can shop when you want, however you want and wherever you want – effectively having everything from Selfridges to Sainsburys in your pocket and at your home within 24 hours.

An eCommerce boom powered by social

Whatever the psychological drivers – boredom, FOMO, a love for what’s new – we’re shopping more. In fact, we’re shopping all the time. And brands, supported by social media and technology partners, are delighted to find new ways for us to do it. 

Of course, social networks have been keen to accelerate this growth: Facebook’s ingenuity in finding new ways to monetise its 2.8 billion active users is well documented and its formula of an excellent tech foundation and engaged users is a winning combination for brands looking for shopping-hungry consumers.  Since the introduction of News Feed, a defining feature of Facebook’s (and all the other platform’s) strategy is to keep users trapped in their own ecosystem. Creating dedicated brand storefronts within them is a logical step for brands wanting to reach new customers and persuading existing ones to buy more. 

And then there is Instagram. Lured by the visual stimulus of beautiful people and places, creativity and collaboration sit at the heart of how brands are reaching out to consumers and taking them on their purchasing journey. Pepe Jeans put down the marker with its #CustomStudio campaign, with Good Rebels delivering the canvas and buzz it needed to fly.

The campaign centred on simple insight that creators and customers would welcome the chance to customise Pepe products. The brand’s Custom Artist created a set of unique designs – fabrics, illustrations, buttons, and logos – which were then recreated as stickers within Instagram Stories. Users were given an iconic piece of clothing – a pair of jeans or a denim jacket – to use as their blank canvas and could then customise their creations with IG Stories. 

The digital heart of the campaign was supported by events in London, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris amongst other cities; the creators of the best customer designs were invited to see behind the scenes and watch Pepe in-house designers bringing their visions to life. Capturing 4.4 million views and 176,000 impressions a day, passion for creation with a simple, usable, and shareable tool brought brand engagement and crucially a soft sell. The Pepe storefront was always a click away, but not baked into the process in an aggressive way. Co-creation was always the aim.

We want it all, we want it now: availability over value

But what seems the most interesting about all of this is the competition for our attention. Nearly all the ‘new’ methods for capturing our spend seem to give something back. Nike made sure that its WeChat store had baked-in offers and discounts. Storr rewards its sellers (yes, this is basically an affiliate fee) with cash and bonuses. Brands are happy to cut into their margins to encourage customer advocacy. Yet this sits slightly at odds with the insights that McKinsey offered in ‘the Great Consumer Shift’ that availability and convenience trump value. We’d rather just have it than hunt around to find it more cheaply. 

The truth is, for some products or brands, value is relative. Take the automotive industry’s buying journey, for example, which has changed substantially in the last twenty years. Whereas once a prospective buyer would test drive two or three cars before purchase, one is now the norm, placing great importance on the test driver user journey. 

When Lexus asked Good Rebels to boost those test drive bookings by tailoring the booking experience, we focused on streamlining that user journey and improving the efficiency by creating a dedicated channel within Facebook Messenger. Acquisition – which was designed to broaden the brand’s appeal and include a slightly younger demographic – was conducted entirely through Facebook advertising. Users could conduct the entire consideration and engagement process through a Messenger bot, exploring the range before booking the test drive.

The content was crafted to deliver Lexus’ premium brand promise, and delivered a 6x uplift in conversion versus traditional digital journeys (as well as finding almost 30% of its traffic from customers entirely new to the brand). It’s smarter to build the storefront (or in this case the dealership) where your prospects already are than it is to hope that they find you. 

The buying journey has shifted: from buying what the 9-5 corner shop has available, to anytime, anyplace and unlimited choice of retailers and products. Brands need to be here, there and everywhere, 24-7. Creating the right digital storefronts in the right places allows them to do this, effectively reaping the rewards of their labour even when most of the world is asleep. 

Want to find out how Good Rebels can help you get close to your consumer? Let’s talk!

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