The NOW Gen

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The New Brick-and-Mortar: Social Commerce

As a society, we constantly look for more convenient ways to cover our need for speed. During the COVID pandemic, formulated marketing strategies to supply consumers’ need for instant gratification were established, like e-commerce and its successor, social commerce. 

Social Commerce started appearing in the U.S. a couple of years ago on popular social media platforms. Although social commerce can be new and confusing for many marketers and brands out there, social commerce has come into existence quite seamlessly in the past years. 

Social commerce, stemming from eCommerce, refers to the shopping experience that occurs directly on a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok. This trend relates directly to the time consumers spend on social media platforms. 

According to Forbes’ article “The Future Of Selling Is Social: Social Commerce Vs. E-Commerce,” consumers spend more time on mobile apps than web browsers. Making social media platforms a most powerful advertising tool than any search engine. “Given that consumers spend more time on mobile apps than on their mobile web browsers, wishful thinking may imply an indirect paradigm shift away from Google, as the world’s most powerful advertising platform, to Facebook.”  

The NOW Gen is all about using social media for entertainment, communication, staying in the loop of news and trends, learning, and even commerce. This instant-gratification-looking generation has made the swift move from traditional e-commerce to social commerce because it feels natural to instantly shop what you are discovering in your social media timelines. The seamless addition of social commerce to the consumer’s routine of social media usage will allow its growth and fulfillment.

In the past couple of years, various social media platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, have invested in features to facilitate selling products. These people-connecting platforms are now integrating live stream events, digital stores, and more to become a selling point to its users. 

Social commerce for the U.S. is still in its early stages, but it is expected to be just as big as in the Asian markets. On the other side of the globe, specifically in China, social commerce is a popular trend amongst social media users. “About 51.5% … of social media users have or continue to purchase via a social media channel.” It is no surprise, since China is also the global eCommerce market’s leader, that they are also leading this social commerce trend globally. “China continues to lead the global e-commerce market, accounting for 52.1% of all retail e-commerce sales worldwide, with total online sales just over the $2 trillion mark in 2021. It also has the world’s most digital buyers, 824.5 million, representing 38.5% of the global total.”

Many brands are getting on social commerce because the consumer is asking for it. As mentioned above, the NOW generation is known for its need for instant gratification. Therefore, the paramount convenience of social commerce is immediacy. 

Consumers are also looking for “mouth-to-mouth” product recommendations, and social commerce allows them to hear directly from brand ambassadors. The social shopping experience is richer than a regular shopping experience. With added social factors, consumers can seamlessly complement their social interactions with the brands they know, trust, and hear from new products or brands.  

As Ad Age has mentioned in their article, “Shopping Trends Every Marketer Should Embrace In 2022”, getting on board with the social commerce experience will give consumers the convenience and engagement they are looking for. “Expanding virtual shopping experiences appearing on social platforms will entice consumers who want a more engaging and convenient way to shop online. The in-store experience will never look the same as everything from easing curbside pickup to concierge services to enhanced AR/VR visualizations will become normal features. Moving forward, brands that engage directly with consumers via content and creator-influenced experiences that come enabled with commerce functionality will capture significant market share.”

Brands are learning from China to implement social commerce strategies. Some trends you can look out for include: video, live stream shopping, live chat, and social influencers. The consumer is looking for these things to be convinced that your product, and brand, is the best option. If you are looking to join the social commerce movement, consider the following ideas:

Choose the right platform and format to showcase your business. It is critical to understand what social platform is used more by your consumer segment. Also, evaluate how you will present your products on social media, now your newest storefront.

Prioritize quality visuals. The social media consumer is constantly flooded with thousands of videos on social media. Your business needs to stand out from the rest to make an impactful shopping experience. Take your time to tailor these assets for your brand and product.

Finally, although this new way of commerce is significantly increasing in our markets, don’t forget to constantly evaluate and adjust your strategy. With the NOW generation, speed and change are crucial to success. Social commerce is here to stay; take advantage of it. 

Brands

The role of CPG’s in a hyperconnected world

We are just a few months away from the beginning of 2022, and the changes in consumer behavior and expectations that changed during the global pandemic crisis have made something very clear to companies worldwide, and that is that these behaviors are here to stay. 

This has pushed the CPG industry to be the ambassadors of change and the innovators of the industry, through strategies that integrate seamlessly the offline and online, and this is because nowadays we live in a hyper-connected world, where convenience is what drives consumers to seek unique and fast experiences aligned not only to their shopping purposes, but also to their personal ones. In the recent “State of the Connected Customer” study by Salesforce, it was found that 80% of consumers believe that their experience with a brand is just as important as the quality of services and products, and that this experience is key to increasing loyalty and therefore long-term profit. In addition, 88% felt that brands that listen to their needs are seen as better-quality brands.

To create this profit, and not fall behind, CPGs have opted for vital strategies to meet the expectations of their consumers. From buying DTC companies, to giving consumers the ability to create their own product according to their needs. We will highlight some of these strategies and trends that are redefining the future of the industry.

Bye bye middle man

We are seeing more and more 100% online brands and startups that are eliminating the different logistics channels and bridging the gap with their consumers by offering niche products, focused on sustainability, personalization and a premium experience. This has created a wake-up call for industry giants, and in order to not be left behind this momentum, they have started to buy many of these brands to create a new experience with their consumers. And this buying doesn’t just start from the pandemic, Unilever, for example, bought several, including Dollar Shave Club in 2016 and Schmidt’s Naturals in 2017. 

Other brands such as Pepsi announced that they will create online stores for their consumers to buy their products directly, with 0 intermediaries, this with the objective of helping to develop skills and value through E-comm in the long term. Although it is a risky move, due to factors such as distance between the factory and the consumer, not doing so would imply a much greater risk as consumers are increasingly looking for a more personal treatment with their preferred brands.

The evolution of the value chain

It´s time to let go the traditional. Technology has come to impact the entire value chain, by creating more automated and disruptive processes to reach the consumer in a more unique and faster ways. In marketing, for example, advanced analytics are to generate promotions, product assortment and even pricing. Today, marketing teams from different CPGs work together with Data Scientists, integrating, consolidating and generating insights that positively affect marketing strategies and budget allocations. In sales, machine learning algorithms help create a more specific sales plan with key actions to ensure optimal negotiations and in the supply chain, experts are seeing how to convert business objectives and supplies into digital projects focused on more convenient and fast solutions.

Extreme personalization.

As we mentioned earlier, consumers are looking for experiences, and brands have to move to create them. According to a McKinsey study, almost 26% of purchases are based on product recommendations and reviews. For CPGs this percentage rises, with 65% in cosmetics and 55% in soaps. Using social networks, not only for the simple fact of being present, but also to listen to insights and understand them, can become a key point to create a better positioning through relevant promotions, allocation of targets, and even innovation and development of products. 

Another way to personalize is by creating interest through exclusivity across different E-Commerce platforms. Walmart, for example, offers L’Oreal hydration kits exclusively on walmart.com. Another German company even allows its online users to create their favorite type of muesli using more than 80 ingredients, and it is delivered to its consumers instantly.

But let’s not just stick to E-Comm. Augmented Reality (AR) is an incredible opportunity for CPGs to make experiences from the package. With the help of Smartphones, people can discover more about what they are buying, immerse themselves in the production experience and even find out which product is right for their needs, thus connecting the digital world to the offline world, and optimizing the collection of customer data in a more organic and optimal way.

We have to start acting and fast. Today is the time where we have to understand that markets and industries are moving at the speed of light and we have to captivate consumers right away. At 121 Corp, we move at the same speed as the world. We work hand in hand with our clients, and together we create innovative strategies and product design in record time across their value chain and consumer touchpoints. We know that in this year and the new years to come, we will not only need to have the perfect product with the same promotions and campaigns as always, but we will have to put ourselves in the consumers’ shoes. Understanding their tastes, needs, values and purposes, in order to create experiences that excite them and make them fall in love with a brand.

Business

The future of E-Commerce after the vaccine

2020 was sure a year to remember, not only because the pandemic hit us worldwide, but also because it was a year of transformation. We were forced to stop and take a step back. We started reflecting on what is important to us and realizing that nothing was going to be the same as before. 

Behaviors changed for everyone. We moved from eating out to cooking at home, from partying, to enjoying quality family time and from rushing to the nearest store, to buying online. And we see this behavioral shift in a booming 10 year growth in E-commerce happening in just 90 days.

Nevertheless, vaccination is becoming available, and brick and mortar shopping is, little by little, plunging back to normal, so how are these changes going to affect E-Commerce? Is E-Commerce on the verge of an exponential decrease? 

Not quite. 

COVID-19 has undoubtedly left us with a growing desire to escape from our homes, but we are still wary on doing activities we used to do before, and one of those activities is going to an in-store shopping. 

Due to the safety and convenience E-commerce brings to the table, it is becoming a default activity in our daily lives. In a research done in the UK market, 42% of people surveyed said that they will continue to shop online more frequently, even after the outbreak is over. It’s considered that this behavior will persist, but not to the same degree as last year, and all of this depends on the customer satisfaction with the E-Shopping experience. 

With new opportunities come new responsibilities. 

More and more E-shoppers are appearing every day, meaning there’s a new window for opportunities, as well as challenges that force E-shops to innovate and create better solutions for not only attracting new customers, but to keep the existing ones loyal. It’s crucial for companies to implement strategies that will retain their clients and stay relevant in its growing E-commerce competitive market. 

Time for uniqueness. 

E-Commerce companies have to be on the lookout of solutions that match the needs of immediacy, simplicity and convenience to their customers. Nowadays, people have the total control of their shopping and are continuously looking for E-shops that will fulfill their expectations, so it’s up to the companies to keep up with them. 

Build a robust omnichannel customer experience: – More and more people are turning to mobile shopping. Having your site responsive is a must if you don’t want customers to leave (if a site takes more than 5 seconds, the bounce rates will increase at 22.2%). Cultivate direct shopper relationships in every touchpoint, be active in social media with relevant content, have a quick response when help is needed and a quick checkout process are also effective ways to create retention. 

Loyalty programs at its best: – When it comes to E-shop, 75% of customers will only buy once in the same online store, so having a loyalty program is very important if we want people to come back. From creating a point or referrals system like Sephora, to free delivery and special offers, there are so many ways you can create an original top-of-the-line program in your E-Commerce sites that will keep customers happy and loyal. 

Everything has changed, but we are still optimistic that by giving you solutions such as content and fast up-to-date optimizations for your E-Commerce, we will make sure that your customers have a strong, trustworthy relationship with your company that will perdure in time, even when that time is hard.

Brands

Speed: How to embrace digital marketing

Today we find ourselves surfing all day for all the kinds of content you can ever imagine. People are streaming movies and series, looking at memes, reading celebrity gossip, playing video games, listening to music, podcasts, and let’s not forget, staying up to date with the news.

As the population has more time on their hands, 87% of U.S. consumers say they’re consuming more content online than ever. According to Global Web Index (G.W.I.), around 80% of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. say they are consuming more content since the outbreak. YouTube and TikTok described as being favorite across genders and generations.

DIGIDAY says that advertisers are currently moving away from traditional Tv advertising because, in these times, they’re just not willing to commit to spending so far in advance. Shifting to online advertising has its benefits. Even though content has to be generated at a speed of light, sharing new and fresh content is what it takes to stay relevant to your audience.

Whether business owners like it or not, these past months have increased consumers’ online presence. It’s a grave mistake not to go digital right now, it can even be fatal to many small and medium businesses if they don’t willingly adapt.

You should think twice before slaughtering your marketing budget.

1. E-comm, enhanced marketplaces.

Amazon is cashing in. We know, it’s no surprise to us either. 2020 Q1 Earnings boosted up a whopping 24.5% compared to the industry’s average growth of 2.7%. According to Comscore, Amazon’s website hit 2.54 billion visitors only in March 2020.

If you are already selling on Amazon, you should step up your A+ Page game. «Adding A+ to your product detail pages can result in higher conversion rates, increased traffic, and increased sales when used effectively.» – Amazon seller central.

Another retailer that cashed in due to mayor updates is Walmart, who recently surpassed eBay in e-commerce sales thanks to their considerable improvement on their web page and shopping app.

Target has also joined the high ranks club, for the past two years, they had already had their focus set on high-merchandising as well as express delivery and curbside pick-up arrangements can say they were on the right track well before the crisis hit.

Home Depot is also expected to see a considerable 38% increase due to their digital sales mixed with in-store pick-up.

Some brands are reporting sales similar to the ones on shopping holidays such as Black Friday. Spending is going particularly up on items such as exercise equipment, bread machines, kitchenware, and health supplements.

Online retailers must be careful only to share quality product images and compositions. With the use of CGI’s brands can generate quality material at a fraction of the time. Employing CGIs will not limit the angles of your product shots. Sharing content on your e-commerce site was never easier.

Even though consumer behavior has changed, this doesn’t mean they aren’t spending. It’s essential to be up to date on consumer trends so you can invest your marketing budget accordingly in the most promising categories on your niche.

Forbes says that a brand’s customer experience is going to depend a lot on the look and feel of the customer-facing app. In the world of digital marketing, a brand can only make a strong impression by having even stronger content. Developing attractive digital assets is worth giving a try.

2. Stay social, stay connected.

The digital disruption that’s ben recently going on due to worldwide stay at home orders might be here to stay. People cannot touch, try on, and feel the products brands are selling. So, it is been up to brands to keep things fresh and step up their social game as well as partnering with the right people.

«Facebook has seen a 50% increase in messaging, Instagram usage is up 40%, and Twitter’s monetizable daily active users has spiked 23%»- Forbes.

Aerie closed its stores across the U.S. and Canada for the time being; however, they wasted no time jumping on Tik Tok. In just two weeks, Aerie spiked their following. Introducing challenges and getting their followers to participate. They are one of the few fashion brands actually putting money in for their digital campaigns. McCormick and E.L.F. Cosmetics have also been successful by taking this route.

When Levi’s partner on social commerce, they doubled their product views.

Brands are attempting to foster a sense of community through virtual social gatherings, sharing stories with their audience regularly, and inviting their consumers to participate in creative initiatives.

According to HBSWK, 89% of consumers want brands focusing on producing goods that can help people with pandemic-related challenges. But beware of sharing bad advice, fact-check your claims and point to respected health organizations.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. You must be sensitive to your content, but don’t be afraid to sell. Acknowledging the crisis rather than ignoring it is the way to go.

Consumers do want to hear from you, don’t you dare ghost them, or you shall deal with the consequences. Leaning into digital and connecting with customers will likely have lasting effects.

3. Video, Rockstar of digital content.

Creativity and high personalization must reign among your video content. To gain the consumer’s attention and maintain high levels of engagement, companies need to hire experts. Only exceptional marketers are capable of keeping a high volume of content output that resonates with their audiences. Quality design plays a vital role in extraordinary visuals.

The human’s attention span currently stops at eight valuable seconds if you didn’t connect with your viewer in that small lapse, you are doomed. Marketers have the quest to build unique and advanced experiences that will be of value to the target.

Thanks to data consumption stats, we can now highly personalize content for our audiences depending on age group, interests, location, and browsing history. Tailored content leaves a better impression on anyone. Think about it; you don’t want to be getting the same Christmas card from your Nonna, as your average human cousins, you expect her to address you as the one and only favorite grandchild.

Challenges, tutorials, webinars, you name it, video is the easiest most effective way of getting your messages across. However, it is said that around 20% of the people who start watching a YouTube video leave after only 10 seconds of viewing. Talk about engagement.

Soon X.R. ads will be playing mainstream across platforms. A mix of virtual and augmented reality will make consumers’ content consumption highly immersive. Papa John’s reached a 25% conversion rate employing an X.R. campaign. Users could order a pizza within Snapchat’s app.

Brands are having to go ahead with their product launches, and they are embracing full-on digital from virtual fragrance pop-ups to V.R. shoe releases.

Because some are pulling out their ads, today is the best time to go into video content and adds, rates are going down, and you can get more exposure. Remember to be true to your brand and to share genuine and creative content.

Speed is our core

Doing digital marketing right is a combination of creativity, empathy, and speed.

Times are uncertain, planning that much ahead is just isn’t an option. Social media strategy must be responsive and very flexible nowadays.

Advertising is no longer about interrupting but about interacting. Keeping up with generating content doesn’t have to be a hassle.

In 121, we understand that marketplaces move at an unforeseen pace, and we can reassure you that we are ready to create and design content worth sharing faster than anyone else.